A former president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr Simon Okolo, has urged the Federal Government to cushion the effects of petroleum subsidy removal.
Speaking with newsmen in Aba on Thursday, Okolo said that already, prices of commodities had sky-rocketed due to the subsidy removal.
He urged the Federal Government to ensure that the accrued revenue from the subsidy removal was judiciously utilised.
According to him, the accrued revenue should be tied to specific verifiable capital projects that can be easily monitored.
Okolo also urged the government to actualise the transformation agenda to open good competitive business environment for industrial revolution and economic development.
“We will never make real headway without the diversification of the economy and revenue base of the government from over-dependence on crude oil revenue to revenue from agriculture and manufactured goods.
“So the government must divert all its energies in 2012 to realise the above to create the needed jobs to check the ever-rising rate of unemployment and reduce poverty in our country,’’ Okolo said.
He urged the government to also intensify efforts on manpower development in the country by increasing funding of the education sector.
“The country is doomed if we don’t spare enough efforts to train the youths who are its future leaders.
“Even becoming one of the 20 most-developed world economies by the 2020 will remain a pipedream,’’ he said.
Okolo advised the government to appoint the Central Bank of Nigeria to perform the statutory responsibilities of maintaining price stability in the economy to realise adequate value for the naira.
The bank should also ensure low-interest rate and lower inflation in the economy in order to increase its growth and development, he added.
The former chairman advised the government to address the inconsistent fiscal policies that had paralysed the economy.
He said that 2011 was not a rosy year for the organised private sector.
According to him, the unfavourable business climate led some companies to relocate to neighbouring countries while some of those still operating in the country found it difficult to operate.
He urged the president to find a solution to the crimes and violence in the country by tackling corruption.