The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has said the rising cost of living in the country is already having a negative impact on the country’s poverty and production index.
NECA’s Director-General, Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, expressed concerns in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
“In the last one year, we have witnessed perpetual rising inflation, commodity price instability, reduced industry capacity utilisation and a gradual dwindling of the purchasing power of Nigerians, all of which has further dragged many enterprises out of existence and Nigerians below the poverty lines.
“While the current administration has lined out policy plans to improve the living standards of the masses, such plans must be backed by deliberate and quick responses.
“As it is obvious to all, there is rising agitation owing to the rising cost of living, compounded by the increasing cost of Premium Motor Spirit and threat of increment in electricity tariff among others,“ he said.
He commended the removal of fuel subsidy, renewed efforts at curbing oil theft, and ongoing attempt to reform the tax administration system with the appointment of Mr Taiwo Oyedele as Chairman of the Tax Reform Committee.
The director general, however, said it was important that government took more drastic steps to stop the slide into hopelessness by Nigerians and organised businesses.
“It is instructive to note that businesses and households are currently being over-stretched beyond their shock buffers.
“Already, there is a drag on business operation as production plans are persistently displaced by frequently changing factor costs, and households are constantly adjusting consumption to accommodate their inadequate real income,“ he said.
Oyerinde, therefore, urged government to urgently take deliberate actions to mitigate the persistent rise in inflation, so as to address, what he described as, the fast-accelerating cost of living in the country.
According to him, such actions may include price stability mechanisms, periodic feedback on the progress of the ongoing work at the refineries, reversal of the Value Added Tax on AGO, and suspension of the planned upward review of electricity tariff.
“More importantly, government must conclude all palliative measures, which we expect should provide some immediate respite to both individual and corporate citizens,“ the NECA boss said.