Onitsha businessmen lament state of Nigeria’s economy

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Onitsha-based businessmen, under the aegis of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has lamented the poor state of national economy and rising poverty level in the country.

The group said that the current recession in the country, coupled with other macro economic challenges, had continued to pose a strong threat to the Organised Private Sector.

The out-going President of ONICCIMA, Uchenna Apakama, stated this at the sidelines of the group’s 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Onitsha

According to him, a situation “where poverty level has been aggravating, with 67.1 per cent of the population living below a US dollar per day, with power generation still a nightmare and electricity tariffs soaring higher and distribution companies, DISCOs, blatantly refusing customers’ access to pre-paid meters, is highly worrisome.

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“The Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, is still pegged at a higher rate of 14 per cent since July 2016, with lending rate of between 20-30 per cent remaining unattractive to the OPS, while the rate of inflation is almost 18 per cent, just as 130 million Nigerians lack adequate sanitation, with 57 million lacking access to safe drinking water, leading to the death of some 45,000 children annually due to diarrhoea.

“Unemployment rate across the land is high, hovering at 42.24 per cent in 2016, with thousands of graduates joining the labour market every year. Corruption, insecurity and crime, including armed robbery, kidnapping, Boko Haram, and herdsmen attacks are assuming pervasive and horrendous dimensions now more than ever.”

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He, therefore, called on the governments at all levels to continue taking proactive measures to reduce the high incidence of poverty in the land, even as he welcomed the initiative of the Federal Government in establishing the ‘Ease of Doing Business Commission’ headed by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

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