LCCI seeks government’s intervention in herdsmen’s activities, ports
Notwithstanding its commendation of government’s various policy measures put in place to improve the business environment, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has expressed concerns about various aspects of the economy that need government’s intervention.
According to the chamber, while progress might have been made in the fight against terror the escalating security problems perpetrated by the herdsmen across the country are raising concerns as activities of the herdsmen are already taking a toll on agricultural activities in the country.
The Chamber in a communiqué issued at the end of its council meeting in Lagos, also highlighted for intervention, the deplorable state of access roads to all Ports in Nigeria.
“Given the strategic importance of the Lagos ports in the Nigerian economy, Council has therefore called for an urgent response by the government to fix the access roads to the Lagos ports. Lagos ports account for about 70 per cent of the total revenue generation from import duties in the country.
“The pace of cargo evacuation is being affected by the state of the roads. This in turn results in high demurrage charges, high rental costs by the terminal operators and high cost of freight”, the LCCI lamented.
The chamber added that indiscriminate and arbitrary queries raised by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service on the value of imports disregard the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) issued by the Customs Headquarter, as arbitrary valuation are imposed on importers leading to much higher import payment.
“The Council suggest that the PAAR issued by the Customs headquarters should be respected by Customs officers at the ports as far as evaluation is concerned. The use of discretionary valuation by Customs officers at the port is not consistent with the vision of this administration to improve the ease of doing business”, the communiqué added.
Similarly, the LCCI Council expressed concern over the presence of officers of the Nigeria Customs Service on the highways stopping containers and raising fresh valuation issues, thereby causing frustration to many business owners.
The LCCI council also expressed concerns about the increasing liquidity challenges in the financial system, noting that some companies are not able to draw from facilities to fund their forex requirements, a move that is taking a toll on the business of such companies.
The liquidity problem is a consequence of the mopping of liquidity in the financial system, the tight monetary policy stance and the increasing crowding-out effect of the private sector by government borrowing in the financial system.
In relation to activities in the telecommunication sector, the Council expressed concern over the frequent shutting of telecoms base station by the state and Local Government authorities in their drive for Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“This has affected the quality of service delivery by many telecoms operations. The meeting also noted the complaints about high cost imposed on telecoms companies for Right of Way (ROW) for the laying of telecoms cables. Concerns were also expressed on the vandalization of telecoms infrastructures by miscreants across the country. Council therefore urged the urgent intervention of the relevant authorities including the ease of doing business secretariat to protect the telecoms industry”, it added.