Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Electricity tariff hike will stifle businesses, says Abuja Chamber of Commerce

‘‘The ease of doing business is a critical factor for fostering economic growth.’’

• April 6, 2024
Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) [Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria]

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed concern over the recent increase in electricity tariffs, saying it can negatively impact on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

The President of ACCI, Emeka Obegolu, said in Abuja on Saturday that the hike would significantly impact businesses across various sectors of the economy.

Mr Obegolu acknowledged the various challenges already faced by entrepreneurs and investors in the country.

He expressed worry that the Small and Medium Enterprises which are crucial to the country’s economy would be greatly affected by the hike in tariff.

“The ease of doing business is a critical factor for fostering economic growth, attracting investments, and creating job opportunities. Regrettably, the increase in electricity tariffs can hinder these efforts by imposing additional financial burdens on businesses, especially SMEs, which are the backbone of our economy”, he said.

Highlighting the importance of electricity in businesses, Mr Obegolu said that any disruptions or cost increases associated with electricity supply could lead to higher operational expenses.

The president said it would hinder businesses’ ability to invest in innovation and expansion and impede their competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.

He also expressed concern that the tariff hike, combined with other economic challenges such as the removal of fuel subsidy and foreign exchange unification, could further compound difficulties faced by businesses.

Mr Obegolu urged the relevant authorities to reconsider the tariff increase and explore alternative solutions that prioritise the needs of businesses.

“Many enterprises are already struggling with reduced demand, supply chain disruptions, and financial constraints. The burden of higher electricity tariffs exacerbates their challenges and threatens their long-term viability.

“As advocates for the business community, we urge relevant authorities to reconsider this decision and explore alternative solutions that prioritise the needs of businesses and support ease of doing business.

“It is vital to strike a balance between ensuring a sustainable energy sector and mitigating the adverse effects of tariff hikes on businesses, particularly during these trying times,” he said.

Mr Obegolu called for constructive dialogue with stakeholders, including business associations like ACCI, to find collaborative solutions that addressed concerns from both energy providers and businesses.

“Through fostering open communication, promoting transparency, and adopting policies that facilitate business growth and competitiveness, we can create an environment conducive to sustainable economic development and prosperity for all.

“As a leading business support organisation in the FCT, ACCI stands ready to collaborate with stakeholders to address challenges posed by the tariff,” Mr Obegolu said.

(NAN)

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