President, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Chief Richard Uche has decried the threat posed by insecurity to the ease of doing business in Nigeria especially in the Northern part of the country.Speaking at its 55th Annual General Meeting, AGM in Lagos, he said the threat of the Boko Haram sect is scaring away international investors, and a dent on the country’s image in the international community.He said, “This development has paralyzed businesses in some Northern parts of the country and stifled productive activities. Of greater concern is the fact that businesses are closing down, Nigerians are losing jobs and families are being displaced.” Uche called on a due intelligence search on the root causes of the menace and improvement of security infrastructure, as well as a drastic reduction in unemployment, which is believed to have contributed to the spate of violent crimes and insecurity in the country, among other recommendations. Richard further expressed worry over the growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Products, GDP, without a corresponding increase in the welfare of the people.He said, “We wish to reiterate that in assessing the performance and health of our economy, we should go beyond the GDP growth rate. Indices such as per capital income, number of new jobs and new businesses created, sectoral inflow of Foreign Direct Investment, improved and increased road networks, megawatts of electricity generated, life expectancy, number of Nigerians with access to pipe borne water, health facilities, housing, decrease in crime rates, etc should feature prominently in the scorecard. These are fundamental issues that assist us in knowing whether our nation is indeed progressing or retrogressing.
“Thus, while we commend the government for its increased attention on improving security in our country, we should, however, emphasize that the antidote to sustainable safety and security of the country lies in a healthy and prosperous economy that ensures inclusive growth and job creation.”
Continuing, he said, “There is no gain-saying the fact that corruption has been the bane of our economy. This monster has continued to drain our commonwealth of resources that would otherwise have gone into improving our citizenry. We call on the government of the day to demonstrate a renewed commitment to eradicate corruption and rein in this bull in our China shop.
In its financial report, NECA reported a surplus of N43.73 million in its 2011 financial year compared to N887.88 thousand in previous year.
It recorded a gross income of N174.57 million as against N178.338 million in the previous year; while its value added rose to N152.82 million from N116.11 million it reported in 2010.
By LAZARUS IBEABUCHI & WILLIAM JIMOH