Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has predicted shutdown of small businesses if the lingering naira crisis persists.
The Director-General, NECA, Mr Wale Oyerinde, said with the rising inflation and reduction in purchasing power of consumers, the nation could witness the death of many small and medium-scale businesses as well as the shutdown of many large businesses.
In a letter on Sunday titled, ‘Save the economy from inherent economic contradictions: NECA urges government,’ a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, the DG said rising energy cost, inadequate foreign exchange, high operating cost amongst others was impacting businesses negatively.
He lamented that Nigerians were grappling with limited availability of cash, scarcity of petrol.
He said, “As Nigerians grapple with limited availability of cash, they are at the same time confronted with scarcity of petrol, a product for which trillions of naira is being expended as subsidy, while businesses also continue to face increasing energy cost, inadequate forex, high operating cost amongst others.
‘With the rising inflation and real reduction in purchasing power of the citizens, the nation could be witnessing the death of many small and medium scale businesses and also shutting down of many otherwise large businesses.”
Oyerinde said the current situation portends grave danger for the economy, adding that Nigerians were not able to access the new notes.
“It is apt to conclude that it could be counter-productive to seek to implement a cashless economy abruptly, when at the same time the new Naira notes are being rolled out in limited quantities within an impracticably short timeframe.”
Oyerinde urged the government to as a matter of urgency ensure the availability of the new naira notes, prosecute saboteurs if necessary to ease the frustration of Nigerians and avert the impending breakdown of law and order.
The NECA boss said that making the currency scarce only increases the incentive for counterfeiting.
“And making our currency scarce only increases the incentive for counterfeiting. Also, immediate and drastic action should be taken to ensure adequate supply of petroleum products to cushion the harsh effects of current scarcity. Making Nigerians to spend hours on queue for a product that the nation is naturally blessed with, which is also subsidized is not only contradictory but also shameful.”
He added, “Contrary to the touted narrative and according to financial experts, Nigeria does not have excess cash in circulation (it is less than 2percent of Gross Domestic Product). The latest report by the Central Bank of Nigeria actually shows that the currency in circulation is only N3trn out of N52trn aggregate money supply. If the monetary policy is not working as we have seen overtime, it is not because of the N3trn out of N52trn (which is less than 6percent).”
He however reiterated that the government should save the nation’s economy from further bashing, adding that Nigerians grapple with multi-facet problems.