In an apparent move to protect investors against effects of policy inconsistencies in the country, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has commenced plans to build a coalition to drive a legislation to protect the rights of entrepreneurs.
Indeed, with the power to negotiate investment protection issues through legislations, the organised private sector would be empowered to mobilise against policy somersault while instituting a fairer balance of private and public interests.
Besides, with a political transition expected in a few weeks, the chamber has urged caution in the management of expectations, noting that economic challenges before the incoming administration remain dire. According to the chamber, businesses over the years have been subjected to all manner of adverse policies, impunity by regulatory agencies as well as arbitrariness in the formulation of economic policies.Addressing its first quarterly press conference in Lagos, on Wednesday, LCCI President, Remi Bello justified the need for the bill of rights for investors, stating that investors need protection from policy inconsistency, arbitrary levies and charges, multiple taxation, abuse of monopoly powers, absence of level playing field among others.
He said: “There are instances of policies and regulations introduced at the whims and caprices of policy makers, regulators and bureaucrats. We need to address this in order to further bring some added value to the investment environment. The vision of the LCCI is to build an advocacy coalition to escalate these concerns and ensure an enabling legislation to protect the rights of entrepreneurs”.He also stressed the need for government to address the issue of tax administration, especially in the harmonisation of levies paid by businesses.
“We recall that there have been various steps taken at various levels especially by the Joint Tax Board to streamline taxes and levies in the country, but this still remains a major problem for many firms. This is more pronounced at the Local Government level where it is difficult to know exactly the number of levies payable by investors. As we transit into a new political dispensation, we implore the state and local governments to look closely at this matter. It would be better to harmonise these various levies to a maximum of three for ease of compliance and administration”, he added.On the need to manage expectations from incoming administration, Bello said: “The election of a new government heightened the prospect of a new direction for economic and political governance with better outlook for the quality of policy formulation and execution. The outlook for discipline and adherent to rule of law in the conduct of government business also looks quite positive under a Buhari administration. This is good for business. “However, there is need to manage expectations.
Macro-economic issues such as the exchange rate depreciation, declining foreign reserves are driven largely by exogenous factors, which may be beyond the control of the administration.“Similarly, structural issues in the economy such as infrastructure and the diversification of the economy will also take some time to fix. But generally, there is a feeling that this election marks the beginning of a new dawn which will put Nigeria on the part of sustainable growth and development”. On her part, the chamber’s Vice-President, Dr. Mrs Nike Akande advocated tax remittances by individuals and organisations in order to aid the realisation of expectations from government.
Source: The Guardian