The reported request of President Muhammadu Buhari for emergency powers over the economy has received the backing of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
The backing came from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, as they both described it as a welcome development.
Sources had indicated that the Federal Government is sending an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to grant the president powers to make Executive Orders that will tackle the current economic crisis.
According to President of MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, if the request is granted and the measures are implemented, the economy will be repositioned and Nigerians will be better for it.
He added that the economy would improve sufficiently, if mobilisation fee to contractors is raised from 15 to 50 per cent as being planned.
For the Director General of the LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, the sense of urgency demonstrated by Buhari on the need to fix the economy is a welcome development, adding that though the details of the Economic Stabilisation Bill are yet to be released, a few indications of the government’s thinking can be deducted.
According to him, some of the issues involved can be dealt with by the executive while others would reguire the National Assembly.
On the proposal for the fast-tracking of the procurement process to quickly activate the stimulus spending by government, Yusuf said it should be done without compromising the integrity of the procurement process.
According to him, like many other processes in government, the procurement process is very bureaucratic and not consistent with the current mood of the nation and so should be discarded.
He said: “The relaxation of the counterpart funding requirements for states in UBEC is a step in the right direction. The decision to fast-track the visa issuance process is also a welcome development, as this will help to boost tourism and encourage investors seeking to explore opportunities in the Nigerian economy.
“I would in fact, go further to suggest that holders of passports of the advanced economies of the world should be given liberal entry into the country. I believe this will further help to boost the inflow of investments and support the hospitality industry.”
He however, cautioned on the need to approach the proposal on virement of budgetary allocation with tact.
“Virement proposal should be made so that it could be considered on a case-by-case basis. I do not expect that powers for budgetary allocation virement will be open-ended,” he added.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews…
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