The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has called for caution on Nigeria's rising debt profile. It also urged the authorities to ensure prompt and diligent implementation of the 2017 budget as part of efforts in ensuring that the economy stays vibrant and the investor confidence sustained.
National President of association, Iyalode Lawson, who made the call in Lagos at a meeting with corporate members , said the body expects that based on the Executive Order passed in May by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to promote efficiency in the nation's budget processes, there would be noticeable improvement and swiftness in the budget's compilation process.
Lawson reasons that borrowed funds should be channeled towards the development of "critical infrastructure required for economic growth and not for recurrent expenditure."
He also stated that the association would continue to call for increased socio-economic infrastructure development, adding that infrastructure such as power supply, roads, ports, bridges and water are utmost of importance in the nation's industrialisation drive.
Lawson further maintained that the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the fourth quarter of 2016 places unemployment rate as high as 14.2 percent, stating that considering the country's economic fortunes, these figures should have increased.
The NACCIMA Chief called for proper implementation, monitoring, dissemination of achievements and timelines of the Economic Recovery and Growth plan (2017-2020) and other government interventions programmes which support the growth of enterprise.
She added: "The high rates remain a cause of major concern to the association and all entrepreneurs seek capital to invest in their businesses or start new ones. The prime lending rate as at August, 2017 was 17.69 percent and the maximum lending rate was 31.20 percent. These rates which are applicable till date continues to increase and do not encourage enterprise.
"NACCIMA urges the government to review and implement monetary policies which will bring down these rates and encourage business expand, thrive and create more jobs in the economy. The year-on-year inflation rate as at September, 2017 eased to 15.98 percent as against 16.01 percent in August, indicating a decrease of 0.19 percent points.
"This signals the eighth consecutive decline since January which is a good indication. However, more interventions are required to ensure that the inflation rate drop to single digits. The foreign Exchange market has been stable with naira to US Dollar exchange rate around N365 to N370 per US Dollar. This is attributed to more stable monetary policies and intervention."