The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, has called for increased efforts to promote commerce and trade, especially when it concerns made-in-Nigeria products.
He said this on Thursday in Lagos shortly before declaring open the Member’s Day exhibition held in Lagos.
Ruwase noted that this became necessary because the trade sector contracted by -0.25 per cent in the second quarter of 2019 from 0.85 per cent in the first quarter and 1.02 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
He added that the contribution of the sector in the second quarter was 16.1 per cent compared to 16.45 per cent in the second quarter of 2018.
He said, “This poor performance clearly shows that more need to be done to promote commerce and trade and boost production in order to improve growth in the Gross Domestic Product.
“This situation reinforces the need for credible platforms to facilitate trade, industry and commerce through easy access to market.
“We can improve the performance of the trade sector if our entrepreneurs can conveniently have access to markets, despite the structural economic challenges confronting our nation. Business will make more investment in technology to improve products if they have better access to the market.”
Ruwase, who called on the government to create an enabling environment for business to thrive, said it must fix infrastructure and strengthen support systems to encourage start-ups and enhance the Small and Medium Enterprises.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Lola Akande, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Mr Akeem Adeniyi, commended the LCCI for organising the exhibition, which she described as a platform for businesses to develop.
The Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Boladele Dapo-Thomas, urged Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigeria products, stressing its importance in boosting the nation’s economy.
She said, “Let us look inwards and buy made-in-Nigeria products. We must grow the market in Nigeria.”
In a similar development, Ruwase while speaking at the export group’ symposium recently, identified fragmented regulatory environment and enforcement as some of the factors inhibiting the growth of the non-oil sector.
He said in the process of getting approvals and required signatories, exporters sometimes suffered huge financial losses arising from mortality of perishable produce/products.