The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has urged the Federal Government to adjust its policy on business and financial support for private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance the economy.
Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, ACCI President, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said that reviewing current policies and engaging genuine businesses would halt the declining state of economy.
Kayode attributed the sluggish growth to many factors, citing reluctance of government to relate and patronise established businesses and organised private sector like ACCI in disbursement of billions of naira for pandemic palliative.
The ACCI boss was reacting to the second quarter of 2020 report of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The report disclosed that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by 6.10 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter ending the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since 2016/2017 recession.
The decline was attributed to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity during the quarter, which resulted from nationwide lockdown efforts aimed at containing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber president noted that while the pandemic slowed down economic growth, its impact was exacerbated by the low patronage of established businesses of members of ACCI and other credible business associations nationwide.
He noted that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operators, who were members of the chambers nationwide, suffered low patronage in the many financial support extended to the private sector during the pandemic.
“We note the report of the NBS on the poor state of the economy with concern. We are particularly touched by the devastating effects of inflation and rising unemployment on the purchasing powers of Nigerians.
“The negative impact on our members are devastating as factories are closing or scaling down to minimal production due to low sale, high material cost and negative complications within the economy.
“The report is a wake up call on the administration to review current policies and engage genuine businesses in the implementation of sectoral support.
“Our members are mostly SMEs and we regret to note that support for them are almost non-existent.
“What happen here in ACCI is virtually the same scenario all over the 36 states where the chambers of commerce are sidelined in the disbursement of palliative and support,” he said.
He urged the government to relate closely with the private sector through their identified organisations.
According to him, disbursing loans and other support through chambers of commerce could create business sustainability and loan security to boost the productive capacity of the economy.
“It is time the Central Bank of Nigeria and other government establishments adopt the Chambers of Commerce as allies and key partners in the ongoing efforts to revive the economy”, he said.