By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has expressed worry over the recent trend of relocation and divestment of businesses from the country, calling for immediate intervention.
The Director-General of the association, Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, in a statement, said that such a trend was a major reason why the rate of unemployment continued to soar perpetually with the consequential rise in crime and other security issues.
“When businesses cease operations, divest or move to other profitable and hospitable environments, a large number of Nigerians become unemployed.
“Inadvertently, the country loses income from taxes, social investment is hindered, and poverty holds sway,“ he said.
According to him, in most developing economies across the globe, private businesses account for over 93 per cent of employment, including formal and informal jobs.
He said that the private sector continued to remain the catalyst for economic growth, being a major contributor to national income and the efficient flow of capital.
Mr Oyerinde, therefore, called for more definitive and urgent intervention.
“While we acknowledge and commend the current administration’s effort to address the concerns of the private sector and the steps it took to provide some respite to businesses in specific sectors of the economy, more needs to be done.
“Beyond the tax reforms activity and the provision of palliatives to select corporate entities, government should, by deepening engagement with the Organised Private Sector, provide the right intervention.
“Also, incentive, not only to attract more Foreign Direct Investment but to also prevent more companies from shutting down, divesting or leaving the country,” he said.
The director-general urged the government to work collaboratively with the private sector with the view to developing and implementing action plans capable of promoting enterprise sustainability and competitiveness.
“Sectors such as cosmetics, services, pharmaceuticals, aviation, textile, maritime, construction, and, in fact, the real sector should be prioritised as they have the capacity to generate jobs.
“Expeditious action should be taken to finalise the appointment of Ministers and constitution of boards of agencies to drive the economic programmes of the administration,” he added.