By Charles Nwaoguji and Nwadigwe Nitzack
The Lagos international Trade Fair holds every year in November and this year’s event came with much expectations. It usually features thousands of visitors as well as hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products.
Exhibitors at the fair have called on Federal government to address power generation challenges in order to boost economic activities in the country.
Those who spoke to Daily Sun, noted that the generation capacity in Nigeria is less than 3,000MW and an average power supply of about eight hours per day from the national grid.
John Ademola, an exhibitor, noted that despite the government efforts to address this ugly trend by launching the Roadmap for Electricity Power Sector driven by improved service delivery to every class of consumers in Nigeria, the sector is still lagging.
According to him, this scenario has compounded the already harsh business environment with millions of Naira spent by companies, especially in Lagos and other industrial areas, on diesel and petrol to power their plants and generators.
Another exhibitor, Mr. Sunday Eze, explained that Nigerian private sectors are currently faced with a plethora of challenges, which have put the profitability of many businesses and the sustainability of the economy in jeopardy.
He said that the high cost and non-access to funds, especially by the small and medium enterprises as well as micro enterprises remain a big set back.
“The government should urgently address the issue of high interest rate to ensure that real sector does not collapse, especially SMEs which must access funds at single digit for businesses to grow and thrive,” he said.
He noted that prior to the current leadership in just about a year ago, the nation was making some progress, but perhaps, too slow for a country aspiring to become one of the top 20 most developed nations in the world by year 2020.
Eze observed that despite all efforts, it is unfortunate that all human development indices still point to the fact that Nigerians are about the 10th poorest people in the world in spite of the huge revenue from oil.
Commenting on loans to the real sector of the economy, the General Manager of Majand Nigeria Limited , Mr. Godfrey Majemite, said banks should be able to give loans because that is part of their duties.
“The role of bank is financial intermediation and what it means is that banks must take money from surplus units of the economy to deficit units. But right now, Nigerian banks are not playing that role and CBN has committed one blunder by closing the channels for inflow of loans to the economy, “ he said.
He said that the bank should ensure that these loans are channeled to the real sector in order to improve it, because at the moment, real sector is passing through hard times.
He stated that the transportation system in the country is very poor and needs to be improved.
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