The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, has urged the government at all levels to put in place measures to revamp the paper and pulp sector in the country.
She made this statement while speaking at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair, where FAE Limited, a paper packaging manufacturer in the country, unveiled a new product.
According to a news report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the President of LCCI said that the government needed to ensure that the operating environment was conducive for industry players, as it would stimulate operations to enable the sector perform at optimal capacity, without drawbacks in productivity.
She explained that structural rigidities and bottlenecks had strangled the performance and productivity of the sector in recent years, owing to the tough operating environment, supply chain disruptions, tepid milling capacity, policy inconsistency, and the huge infrastructural deficit in the nation.
These issues and rigidities in the structural makeup of the economy has made it impossible for businesses to survive and also for key investments in the sector to yield expected results in line with the expectations of the investors.
What they are saying
The President of LCCI, in her address at the International Trade Fair, said:
“The industry has not been performing at optimal capacity over the years due to several structural challenges, including abysmally weak domestic milling capacity, tough operating environment, policy flip-flop and poor infrastructure. These challenges have made it increasingly difficult to attract and sustain private investment. The sector has for long depended on importation and this is a downside risk to the sustainability of the paperwork industry. Government at all levels need to show commitment by engaging measures that would revamp the sector and at the same time create a conducive operating environment for businesses.”
Efforts of government across all levels to revamp the paper and pulp sector in Nigeria will compound on the gains from the diversification agenda of the Nigerian government in other sectors.
However, this is expected to strengthen the resilience of the Nigerian economy and eliminate the sector’s overdependence on imported materials that can be produced locally.
The end result of the efforts of the government to revamp this sector is expected to lead to more employment for the youths, less dependence on oil and imported items/inputs, and reduction in the exposure to shocks coming from crude oil earnings.