The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recommended, among other things, that tolling be introduced on interstate roads that have been completed to ensure sustainable financing for road maintenance.
The President, LCCI, Mr. Paul Ruwase, made this recommendation on Tuesday in Lagos while setting agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office.
He said, “Government should also introduce tolling on interstate roads that have been completed to ensure sustainable financing for maintenance of roads.
“To complement quality maintenance of our roads, it is imperative to introduce proper axle control and enforcement of use of weighbridges on major roads across the country.”
Ruwase recommended the passage of the National Roads Fund bill saying that its enactment would give legal backing to the proposed National Road Fund, a repository for revenues accruing from road-user -charging systems and any other source for the purpose of financing maintenance and upkeep of Nigeria’s road infrastructure.
On access and cost of credit for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Ruwase said although the MSME sector contributed about 90 per cent to the business activities in Nigeria, operators in the sector lacked sufficient access to capital.
He said, “We need to encourage commercial banks to increase lending to the SMEs sector, but this can only be achieved if there is an effective credit guarantee scheme to de-risk lending to the sector. Credit guarantee schemes for MSME will promote lending and provide guarantee of loan repayment.”
Among the issues the chamber also advised the government to urgently address was the disparity between the Gross Domestic Product and population growth, the need to get more private sector’s involvement in policy making, the need to reduce recurrent expenditure in order to accommodate capital expenditure and to adopt Public Private Partnership model in financing of public sector projects.
Others were economic integration with particular reference to the African Continental Free Trade Area and the need to ensure effective enforcement of the rules of origin to protect vulnerable sectors of the economy.
The chamber also discussed visa policy, saying that nationals of selected advanced economies should be granted a minimum of 30 days visa-free entry into Nigeria as practiced by many emerging economies.
On the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, the LCCI suggested that the Council be strengthened and the scope of its activities broadened to cover all sectors of the economy and all agencies of the government that interfaced with the private sector.
“We believe that the economy will be positively impacted if this is done,” Ruwase said.
He expressed concerns about the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service saying that the Service had created uncertainties and bottlenecks in the international trade process and did not subscribe to the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.