To unlock growth and investment in 2023, the Federal Government has been urged to ease reforms in the oil and gas sector, fix energy and prioritize infrastructure financing.
The Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) disclosed it in its review of the economic and business environment for 2022 and agenda for policy makers for 2023.
In the document, the Director of the CPPE, Dr. Muda Yusuf, noted that: “The country desires job creation, economic inclusion, investment growth, poverty reduction, and an investor-friendly tax regime.
“Deregulation of the downstream oil sector is a major economic reform imperative. This is inevitable if we are to unlock investment in the sector to put an end to the perennial scarcity of fuels and the monopoly structure of the sector”, he stated.
Yusuf also stressed the need to consolidate power sector reforms, as an enabling environment must be created to sustain current private sector investment in the sector and attract new private capital into the power sector.
“Urgent reforms in terms of electricity rates, measurement and deepening of the energy mix are vital. We need strong fiscal and monetary incentives to boost private investment in renewable energy.
“We should reform the budget and appropriation processes to prioritize infrastructure financing and human capital development. This would boost the productivity and competitiveness of the economy…”
“The adoption of these reform initiatives would guarantee progress towards fiscal consolidation, the reduction of the fiscal deficit, the reduction of the need for borrowing and the reduction of the debt service burden”, he stated.
In addition, he said: “The maritime sector is a very crucial sector of the economy. It is a sector where the imperatives of reform have become very urgent. Legacy trade facilitation problems persisted and became intractable. There is a pressing need to facilitate cargo clearance processes and vessel response time in our ports. These are important components of the ease of doing business that the government has expressed its commitment to in solidarity with.”
He listed factors that deserve higher priority as shorter response time from ships by reducing delays, cutting red tape, and reducing racketeering in clearing ships.
He also said that: “The response time of the vessels must be reduced from the current four weeks to a maximum of one ten days; less cargo stay time in seaports from the current 20 days to less than a week; better stakeholder engagement in the implementation of the Vehicle Identification System by the Nigerian Customs Service; solve the problem of frequent failures of the customs server that causes undue delays and demurrage payments by importers; reduction in the number of agencies and approvals necessary for the dispatch of cargo in our ports; deployment of technology in all stages of approvals and documentation”.