The immediate past president of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, PHCCIMA, Dr. Chief Emi Membere-Otaji has advised the federal government and the CBN to ensure an improved focus in its monetary and fiscal policies to help the socio-economic development of the country, in the face of the present economic trends.
He stated this in an interview over the weekend, noting that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN would require political will and government back up to be able to drive its policies through.
He explained that:” I understand the feeling of the organized private sector. The monetary policy committee of the CBN takes care of the supply of money; regulates rate lending, transfers of money and so on. Positionally, knowing our system in Nigeria, you know we came out of economic recession not too long ago. You know that there were a big infrastructural gaps, so the positional thing is for people to say, very easy, lower the interest rate and , encourage a lot of borrowing and encourage investments and grow the economy, the SMEs, the real sector will come back. Positionally, that is the thing but then also look at the flip side of it, the macro-economic issue of the country is not only the monetary policy, there is also the fiscal policy. Those ones are the government side of it, which is not in the hands of the Central Bank entirely- government policies as it affects government taxation, the tax net, borrowing, expenditures etc, when you put all these together, the totality of the economic growth and stability is in their hands.”
On access to funds by the private sector , he said that this had always been a major challenge for businesses because of the high interest rate.
As the past President of PHCCIMA, Dr. Membere recalled that within the period of 2015 and 2018 when he was in the saddle he and his team worked to ensure that the government of Rivers State donated five hectares of land for the chamber. He explained that,” for me this is something noteworthy. I worked for it to get it for the chamber. And, of course, a lot of visibility and linkages with ministries, departments and agencies of government, we attended the quarterly presidential business meeting .Also, with the state government, the Chamber played a lot of roles in the area of taxation. Before touts took over that aspect, that businesses didn't know how much tax to pay. They harassed people. But now, you already know , even if your tax is 100 million naira, it is available online. It is like your bank account. We have done our bit; the desire of any good father is that his children should be better."