The Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday said the introduction of the N5,000 note would kill production and affect small scale businesses negatively.
Obasanjo, who spoke at a roundtable advocacy forum organised by the Institute of Directors, Nigeria, in Lagos, said it was improper the way the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, was fighting inflation by removing money from circulation .
While speaking on the cost of doing business in the country, Obasanjo called on stakeholders and government agencies to rise up to the challenge. He said some observers had suggested that the Vision 2020 blueprint was somewhat of an ambitious agenda, which was unrealisable considering the daunting challenges confronting businesses in the country.
Obasanjo also said the 2012 annual report of the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank publication titled, ‘Doing business in a more transparent world,’ noted that a record number of African countries took decisive steps to encourage more local entrepreneurs to come into the formal economy over the past 12 years. Across the continent, 15 countries lowered barriers to entry for new businesses, 23 facilitated access to credit, and seven made it easier to pay taxes. Nigeria is not in any of these leagues.
He mentioned the 2008 report, in which Nigeria ranked 108 out of 178 countries and in the space of four years and ranks 137 out of 183 countries measured. This he said is a damning report on our business environment and therefore, calls for more concerted efforts by various stakeholders on how to ensure that this trend is reversed and the Nigeria business environment is made more conducive for investments and less costly for businesses to thrive. We cannot aim for 2020 if we do not halt the downward spiral.”
Also at the forum, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said nine industrial cities in the country would begin to enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply by the first quarter of 2013. He said his ministry had made contacts with the Ministry of Power to ensure the provision of electricity to nine cities with high industrial activities. Which he said is aimed at reducing the cost of doing business in the country, as well as enhancing the economy, as the nation worked towards realising its Vision 2020 objectives.