LCCI seeks Lagos’ intervention on business recovery
• Plans to build conference centre at Lekki Free Zone
The president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs Toki Mabogunje, has appealed to the Lagos State Government to help businesses in the state overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and several containment measures.
Mabogunje made the appeal during a virtual meeting, involving the leadership of the various sectors of the economy in the state and the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The LCCI boss argued that the pandemic had brought untold hardship to businesses in the state, with many still finding it difficult to resume businesses, months after the lockdown had been eased, in the state.
Some of the challenges, she stated, included breach of contractual obligations, the inability of businesses to retain staff and cost escalation resulting from exchange rate depreciation.
Others, she added, were loss of foreign credit lines, the burden of loan repayment and collapse of consumer purchasing power.
“We will appreciate the intervention and consideration of the state government in supporting the recovery of businesses from these disruptions and dislocations. A business has to be alive to fulfil its obligations to the state,” she stated.
Mabogunje also intimated the state governor of the organisation’s plans to build a Conference Centre at Lekki Free Trade Zone, to enable members to take advantage of some of the opportunities, inherent in the place, for businesses.
“We have commenced discussions with the Lekki Free Zone Authority. We would appreciate your support for this endeavour which we believe will bring tremendous value to the state,” she added.
While expressing the optimism that the economy would rebound ‘sooner than later’, Mabogunje also assured the state governor of her organisation’s readiness to continually offer its advice and resources to facilitate the realisation of the state government’s socio-economic objectives.
Speaking during the meeting, the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, assured that the state was adopting different strategies, aimed at cushioning the effects of the pandemic on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
He disclosed that an additional five billion Naira had been approved by the state government, as palliatives for MSMEs within the state, to enable them to stay afloat, reduce job losses and ensure sustainability.
Sanwo-Olu also disclosed the state’s plans to come up with other initiatives, such as the state’s internship program, that would accommodate not more than 10, 000 persons to acquire additional skills to keep them employed, within the next one month.
“These persons would be paid over the duration of training expected to be between three to six months.
“We need to engage people, make them employable by your industries and put monies in their hands so that they can buy the products you manufacture,” the governor stated.
According to him, the state had also reduced its budget by over 20 per cent and increased its health allocation, as part of the measure, aimed at putting the state’s economy back on track.
He however advised manufacturing companies, on the need to adopt longer and overnight shifts, in tandem with safety measures following his approval for overnight shifts.