The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has urged the Federal Government to reassess its strategies and tailor its policies and reforms towards a radical industrialisation of the country.
The Director-General, NECA, Mr Timothy Olawale, made this call on Monday in statement released in Lagos, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent.
He said that this became necessary and urgent in view of the fact that Nigeria recently signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and there was a need to make Nigeria the hub of economic activities in the West African sub-region.
He further noted that the country must benefit maximally from the AfCFTA, urging government to stimulate production rather than increase taxes.
Olawale said, “There is no better time for the government, to focus on a radical industrialisation of our country as a means of making it the hub of economic activities in the West African sub-region and also ensure Nigeria benefits maximally from the AfCFTA.
“We have consistently taken the lazy path of tax increases that stifle and further burden businesses rather than the ingenious way of promoting and stimulating production.”
The NECA boss added, “Government should demonstrate a bold attempt to industrialise the country and take it out of the woods by embracing a major policy shift from focus on taxation to production.
“What our economy requires now are radical far-reaching policies like the abolition of the Value Added Tax on real estate sales, financial services and domestic airline ticket sales, and abolishing capital gain tax on sales of shares and import duty on spare parts.
“Reduction of VAT on small traders to three per cent, abolition of import duty on machinery and raw materials, among many others. All these will directly stimulate production and create wealth for the nation and its citizenry.”
Olawale argued that production and productivity- induced policies focused on the rapid development of our industrial base was the only sustainable option for national development.
While he commended the government for the efforts made in the last four years to stimulate the economy and support the real sector, he, however, stated that the contradictions in the regulatory environment had consistently negated these efforts.
“If government can muster political will to take expected radical bold steps, Nigeria in no time might become the industrial hub of the African continent,” he said.