The President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar has felicitated with Nigerians on the New Year celebrations even as he called on governments at all levels to embrace policies that will favor business.
In a new year statement issued on Friday, Dr. Abubakar tasked Nigerians to regard the challenges of 2021 as “a motivation for concerted efforts to persist in building their businesses despite the harsh fiscal environment”.
According to the Chamber’s President, “businessmen and women in Nigeria should remain undaunted and consistent in applying innovative methods and strategies to sustain their businesses” in 2022, adding that “operators of small and medium scale businesses should not relent but continue to advocate for improved business climate in Nigeria.
He said COVID-19 has pushed businesses around the globe over the technology tipping point, giving rise to new industry challenges, and has transformed business forever, adding, that our way of life was slowly and gradually getting back to normal, but with the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, we might have to face a blow to optimistic hopes of economies entering 2022 on a firmer footing.
“Fast learning and adaptation to the new business context have become extremely important now more than ever before. It is time to rethink business strategies and techniques and reimagine business models based on post-pandemic industry trends.
“With carefully formulated tools and well-advanced preparation, the toughest challenges could be turned into opportunities. We call on the government to intensify its efforts in providing the technology and digital infrastructure well needed for new business techniques in line with current realities.”
Dr Abubakar commended the government’s efforts and its achievements despite the turbulence, caused by Covid 19, that has characterized our economy and indeed the global economy, and the major wins recorded in Nigeria’s most recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showing economic recovery and growth.
“We acknowledge the many interventions of the government to enhance and boost economic opportunities. We also note the constraints confronting the government in the area of low revenue and mounting expenditure. However, the persistent insecurity in the country has significantly affected the ease of doing business, we call on the government to follow through with its promises of re-energizing and reorganizing the security apparatus to tackle this hydra-headed monster to an end.”
The Chamber also calls the attention of the government to the issue of high taxation, with its consequent counterproductive effect, as it kills many businesses and deepens the unemployment crisis. We suggest broadening the tax base and reducing the tax rates.
“Increasing level of inflation, high taxes, and high-interest rates contribute to increasing the cost of production. This has resulted in many businesses not breaking even and many are closing shop. The situation is further complicated by insecurity challenges and the exchange rate instability. We recommend easing the harsh business environment by transforming regulatory agencies into facilitating bodies.
“In a drive to generate funds at all cost, businesses in Abuja are subjected to more than five levels of taxation. This needs to change so that SMEs can thrive and employ more workers to ease the increasing level of unemployment. The Chamber believes that the economy grows and GDP multiplies when governments policies, agencies, and programs facilitate rather than impede businesses”, the statement noted.
While urging government support, the Chamber President called for closer synergy between the public and private sector, assuring that the Chamber movement is ready to fully support government at all levels in the drive to grow the economy, create wealth and resolve national economic challenges.
Finally, as election activities commence in earnest this year, the Chamber prays for a peaceful and progressive process that will protect the country’s economic and business activities.