The Enugu State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, has criticized the Federal Government’s handling of the economy, revealing that Nigeria has already plunged into depression contrary to the claims of recession making the rounds in government circles.
Noting that the prevailing situation where families can no longer afford one square meal is a clear pointer that the economy is depressed, ECCIMA stated that unless the Federal Government quickly rejigs its economic team, people’s means of survival may be greatly diminished.
This was disclosed by the Director General, ECCIMA, Mr. Emeka Okereke, who pointed out that the south-east geopolitical zone was the worst hit by the state of the economy. He based his judgment on the abysmal infrastructure in the region which has crippled trade and commerce that forms the bedrock of the regions’ economy.
According to him, “The Federal Government needs to quickly rejig its economic team if it had one. It is clear that the present economic team does not have a solution to mitigate the recession. There are a good number of Nigerians who can proffer solution to the prevailing problems.
“The president needs to draw experts that will advise him and he should be prepared to heed these pieces of advice to enable us come out of the woods. The buck stops at the President’s table.
“Most Nigerians now are talking of survival not even investing in the productive sector especially in the Small Medium Enterprises, SMEs. People are talking of how to feed. Nobody is talking of investment because the cash flow is not there. The purchasing power has not risen while inflation has ripped off all savings you have made. People are eating their savings now because income is stagnant.
“All the entire economic indicators are showing red. That is why we have gone into depression. People are suffering badly. Most families now cannot afford one square meal a day. These are facts. It is not criticism. Those that are close to the president should tell him the detrimental nature of Nigeria’s survival at this period.
“The economy needs to be stimulated. The economic space has shrank beyond imagination. There is nothing that is happening at the economy. The 2016 budget has witnessed a poor implementation and the year has elapsed. Government needs to spend on critical infrastructure and on recurrent expenditure so that consumption power of the people will improve. For now, everything is stagnant.
On how the recession has affected the South-east, Okereke said: “The cost of living in the south-east region has soared to an all time high, from food stuff to transportation among other variables. The economy of the south-east for now is bedrocked on trade. If you go to our ports now, I’m sure you have heard that most shipping companies are closing shops. Majority of Nigerians who import goods come from south-east. So, south-east economy has been grounded as a result. It is noticeable when you go to the markets.
“South-east economy which is dependent on commercial activities, trade is at a standstill. You won’t talk of the productive sector or industry because the cost of importing raw materials is now unbearable. The region is worse off because supporting infrastructure like roads, railway, airport among others are in a very bad shape.”