While commending the Federal Government for investments towards attaining food security, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advocated that greater attention should be focused on developing the various agricultural value chains to improve farmers’ access to critical inputs as well as improved and more favourable access to finance and to markets, both locally and for exports.
Indeed, the chamber emphasised the need for agro-allied processing noting that significant foreign exchange could be earned by a focused policy and strategy to empower local farmers and processors to attain minimum international quality standard for agricultural products and access to foreign markets.
Furthermore, the conference canvassed rebalancing the economy for a more vibrant export sector, adding that this can only be achieved through the provision of the required enabling environment that will spur and redirect resources toward an export-led growth.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the investment conference organised by the LCCI recently, the Vice-President and Chairman, Trade Promotion Board of the chamber, Sola Oyetayo stated that the conference reaffirmed the importance of a holistic economic blueprint that will provide the right set of incentives to both local and international investors toward making Nigeria a competitive destination for investment inflows and improving the ease of doing business.
According to him, agricultural sector remained an important sector in providing jobs to the teeming youth and ensuring food security.
“A significant improvement in investment in the sector would improve on the per-hectare use of fertilizers, irrigation and mechanization so as to significantly improve agricultural productivity, thereby curbing rural-urban migration.
“Investments in commercial agriculture offers a great window of opportunity which should be exploited to the fullest, alongside encouraging and empowering small and medium scale farmers”, he added.
The chamber noted that tourism in Nigeria was grossly underdeveloped, thus, it has not technically achieved the status of an industry in Nigeria, which accounts for the minimal contribution it makes to the gross domestic product (GDP).
He stated that some of the major reasons for this include lip service to the development of the tourism sector, poor infrastructure and poor consular procedures and visa policy.
“While commending government for the ongoing major construction of new terminal buildings at our international airports as well as the current realization of the imperative to using concessionaires to manage our international airports, there is still the urgent need to emphasize huge investment in and overall improvement of our national transport infrastructure – as a nation is only as advanced as its transport infrastructure – and a more flexible and competitive visa regime to occasion a significant improvement in the volume of tourist arrivals in Nigeria in the foreseeable future.
“There is a need for Nigeria to develop a national tourism policy clearly focused on cultural tourism or ecotourism or perhaps a combination of both. In this regard, the various tourism locations and potential all over the country should be developed with the help of private sector operators and investors.
“The exit from Nigeria of some major airlines should be considered a serious course for concern and all effort should be made be bring them back. The Ministry of Aviation should convene a stakeholders meeting on the best way to retain and enhance Nigeria’s status as the aviation hub for West and Central Africa”, he added.