Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has blasted the power sector reform as underperforming, saying power supply is presently worse than pre-reform era. This came as the Federal government said it is committed to creating an environment to enhance the global competitiveness of Nigeria’s export. Speaking at the LCCI Presidential Policy Dialogue Session, LCCI President, Chief Mrs. Nike Akande, expressed the frustration of the organised private sector with the performance of the power sector reform. She said, “The power sector reform undertaken four years ago has not met the expectations of the business community and the citizens,” adding that the power situation is worse than before the reform and the consequence of this is that high energy cost had persisted in the economy, affecting the competitiveness and sustainability of business.
Stressing that there was need to undertake urgent diagnostics to identify the problems and redress the situation, she said the regulatory regime in the petroleum industry was stifling investment. Akande said, “The sector, especially the downstream operators are reeling under the yoke of heavy regulation. We are gradually slipping back into the days of heavy burden of petroleum subsidy. We request a quick liberalization of the sector. This will reduce the diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries, lessen the financial burden on government and more importantly unlock the huge investment potentials in the sector. It will broaden the scope for private sector contribution to the economy.
Related to this is the Petroleum Industry Bill which needs to be passed without delay.” She said the chamber is convinced that the Nigerian economy has strong fundamentals and that the resources are enormous, the domestic market large and the people resourceful and enterprising. Also speaking at the event, Acting President/Vice president of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the country has a $30 billion export initiative by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), but noted that this was not enough and that unless Nigerians created the environment for export to make it more competitive at the global market, the country will not be able to achieve much.