With a few fiscal policy options available to the Federal Government for intervention in the real sector, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has urged Federal and State governments to address the overlapping functions of regulation and revenue generation among regulatory agencies for private sector development.
Indeed, the Chamber reiterated that businesses were generally grappling with challenges of infrastructural deficiencies and macroeconomic shocks.
It maintained that presently, most investors were saddled with huge cost for the provision of electricity, access road, security and other industry-specific facilities in the midst of poor access to affordable credit, multiple taxation and high exchange rate.
LCCI Director-General, Dr. Muda Yusuf, told The Guardian in a chat that the private sector has increasingly become the target for regulatory agencies seeking to raise revenue for government deficit, which continue to take a toll on the private sector competitiveness.
He said: “Governance issues need to be addressed, as many agencies hardly make full remittance to the government coffers. The private sector has become a target for regulatory agencies, despite not adding any value to the sector.
“Constant imposition of levies and approval of licences are taking a toll on the private sector. There should be a distinction between regulatory agencies and revenue generating agencies.”
Citing some of the regulatory actions frustrating the Federal Government’s ease of doing business mandate, the LCCI at a recent regulatory environment roundtable in Lagos, said the business community was still faced with high regulatory compliance costs, lack of clarity in regulatory requirements, and overlapping regulatory functions, among others.
LCCI President, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, unveiled the report on, “Transactional Accountability, Process Consistency and Operational Transparency,” of some regulatory agencies, during a recent virtual Public-Private Dialogue. The meeting, organised by the LCCI in partnership with CBI and the CIPE, aimed to foster effective regulatory support that could spur businesses to thrive in the Nigerian operating environment.
Mabogunje acknowledged the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the implementation of business-enabling initiatives, which resulted in the 39-point upward movement of Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business Index since 2016.
The LCCI added that it was imperative for managers of the economy to seek ways to minimise the burden of regulation on investors if the private sector must play the desired role of wealth and job creation as prescribed in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
According to LCCI, the real sector and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are critical to national economic development, especially with regards to job creation and poverty reduction. It therefore recommended that the private sector and especially the SMEs should be empowered and supported since the government alone cannot generate the desired jobs needed to gainfully engage the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.