The new president of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chief Emeka Obegolu has urged both federal and state governments to deal with the problem of multiple taxation to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and create jobs.
“We must confront multiple taxation and eliminate it. We must put Nigerians to work,” Barrister Obegolu said at his inauguration ceremony as the 12th president of the ACCI in Abuja on Thursday. “We must never forget that it is the private sector – not the government – that is the engine of economic opportunity. Businesses, particularly small businesses, flourish and can provide good jobs when the government acts as a productive partner.”
Commending the federal government’s bold move to remove fuel subsidy as well as its initiatives such as the unification of the foreign exchange market and the student loan program, he said though the measures may have initially tested Nigerians’ resilience, they will, with time, yield the desired results.
Obegolu urged the government to deepen the collaboration with the private sector, represented by the chamber of commerce, a partnership that has the potential to significantly benefit the business community, the society at large, and the national economy.
In a goodwill message, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu described ACCI as a beacon for innovation and economic growth and a staunch advocate for ease of doing business.
He urged the new ACCI president and his counterparts in other chambers of commerce to find programmes to bring the youths closer to the chambers. “Bring the youths to the entrepreneurial programmes you have. Please prioritise initiatives that promote inclusion; expose them to opportunities that will make them have confidence in doing the right things,” the lawmaker said.
He also told the leaders of the various chambers of commerce in the Southeast region to come up with ways of developing themselves and impacting society.
Earlier, Obegolu said because of the nature of Nigeria’s strategic and national security challenges, there is a need for everyone to work together with the national security and defence architecture to ensure pragmatic and visible support for national security and defence and; promote public cooperation across the sector.
He said the ACCI will in conjunction with the defence and national security leadership institute organise an annual summit on security, defence, and business to review and proffer solutions to the challenges facing Nigeria as a nation. “This will foster confidence and assurance that Nigeria is a safe destination for investment.”
He promised that under his watch, ACCI would proactively adapt to the evolving landscape. He also said his presidency will prioritise collaboration with the government and other non-state stakeholders, and capacity building within the ACCI team, enhancing management processes for improved efficiency and productivity.
“I have spent my working life in the private sector, 25 years in the private sector. I understand that when the government takes money out of the hands of people, it shrinks their disposable income. If they can’t buy things, the economy doesn’t grow. If the economy doesn’t grow, we won’t put Nigerians to work,” he stated.