The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday received a delegation of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), led by its President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Mabogunje, who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, said the delegation and the vice-president discussed issues bordering on the economy, infrastructure deficit and the perennial gridlock in Apapa, Lagos.
She said there was need for the government to strengthen Public Private Partnership initiatives in infrastructure development.
“We are looking at the state of the economy. We are looking at the progress government has made so far. What is still left to be done and the idea the private sector has on how we can move this country forward.
“Some of the things we spoke on centered on the problem of infrastructure deficit. We already know there is the PPP partnership on the building and fixing of roads.
“We have said that we should encourage more private sector participation.
“We were informed that there is an infrastructure fund that has been set up for this purpose.’’
Mabogunje said the private sector and LCCI could work with government to attract more investors and put more money into the infrastructure fund.
“Secondly, we talked about Apapa gridlock. We were updated on progress so far. We have been told that the rail link to the port should be ready by the middle of this year.
“We are very happy to hear that. We talked about other things that could be happening around port operations and relieving of the stress on the road for commuters.’’
The LCCI said the discussion also covered private sector activities with the Federal Government–the presidential dialogue and the quarterly business policy briefings.
According to her, the quarterly business forum has died a bit over the years.
She said that the vice-president had promised that the quarterly presidential dialogue would be revived.
Mabogunje described dialogue as a good platform for the business community to deliberate with the vice-president on issues of the economy.
She said the LCCI was planning to host the vice-president in the third quarter of the year.
Mabogunje also spoke about the Federal Government’s policy of Value Added Tax (VAT).
“What we are saying about policy issue is that we recognise that government has revenue constraints and that the VAT issue that has just come is an attempt by the government to raise more capital for itself.
“However, we feel that money should be directed towards filling the infrastructure gap, the infrastructure deficit.
“That if that money is now taken and applied towards addressing infrastructure deficit, it would bring some relief to tax payers in terms of having better infrastructure to run their businesses and improve the country’s rating on the ease of doing business.’’(NAN)