The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has demanded tax and import duty waivers on foods and medical goods.
It, however, urged businesses to review their strategies in line with unfolding developments and adopt a flexible model to ensure tight control on costs and non-revenue generating segments of the business.
The non-profit represents the opinion of the business community in Lagos, Nigeria, on the economy.
Commentary on the raging Coronavirus Disease, the president, Toki Mabogunje, charged businesses to review their supply chain, focusing on import substitution and backward integration as much as possible.
LCCI advised them to leverage technology in existing business processes for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as well as to broaden the scope of remote working for employees.
The chamber commended the efforts and steadfastness of Lagos and the Nigerian government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, ministries of health and others in containing the pandemic.
“We applaud the initiative of the private sector coalition led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the initiative of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association with the Lagos government, the intervention funds being raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria with the partnership of certain Nigerian corporations to fight the pandemic and donations by international organisations such as Jack Ma
Foundation, the founder of Alibaba,” Mabogunje said.
She noted that the pandemic “is a tragedy of global proportion” and should be brought under control and eliminated as early as possible.
“It is only the living and the healthy that can do business or undertake any other productive activity for that matter.
“The Coronavirus pandemic is not just a threat to our economic and social lives, it is a threat to our collective humanity!
“We invite other private sector actors to complement the current efforts of the government and the various private sector coalitions to ensure effective containment of the pandemic. These times demand all the sacrifice we can possibly make to save humanity,” she noted.
It charged the CBN to prevail on the banks to give concessions on pending private sector credit liabilities with the deposit money banks over the period of this economic crisis.
“The Nigeria Customs Service, the terminal operators and other agencies of government should extend similar concessions to port users at this time,” the chamber added.
On the policy front, the LCCI acknowledged the economic stimulus bill introduced by the House of Representatives and the pledge by the finance minister, adding that the quick wins to safeguard public health, security and food security are paramount now.
“We need to invoke appropriate executive orders to make this happen. There should be seamless access to medical and food supplies, especially by the vulnerable groups.
“We should explore the option of cash transfers to the vulnerable groups to mitigate the pains associated with the current and imminent lockdowns in many parts of the country.”
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