President Ibrahim Babangida has called for an urgent change of heart among the Nigerian businessmen, whom he accused of ‚Äúunwholesome business malpractices.‚Äù
Particularly, the president is unhappy at the way companies are maximising profits at profit at the expense of healthy development of the economy.
President Babangida who was addressing chief executives of business and banking industry in Abuja, Monday night also frowned at the low level of local content in the Nigerian made goods, despite several government incentives.
This situation, he said would no longer be tolerated by the government. Among several malpractices, General Babangida noted that companies are reducing outputs, and retrenching workers, to reduce overhead costs and maintain sizeable profit margins.
This practice, he said is contrary to what obtains in the developed countries, would rather reduce the price of their products to boosts their sales, as well as maintaining their market share and pre-target profit margins.
In the case of Nigeria, Babaginda said, ‚Äúindustries prefer to sacrifice labour, thereby compounding the country‚Äôs unemployment problems.‚Äù
Apart from these practice, he indicated Nigerian companies of introducing ‚Äòimplicit price increase‚Äô through the manipulation of quality and content of produced goods sold to consumers.
…Solicit banks‚Äô support
Government‚Äôs decision to ask banks to participate in the collection of custom duties, was in recognition of their capacity to respond to fundamental changes in the country‚Äôs policy, President Ibrahim has said. Addressing bank chiefs and business executives at Abuja on Monday, General Babangida said, ‚ÄúGovernment has noted a healthy competition among the banks in the mobilisation of savings, since the lifting of government control on interest rates.‚Äù
He said, custom tariffs no matter how finely designed, can only be effective in providing the needed protection to local industries as well as yield the expected revenue of implemented effectively.
The president told the bank executives ‚ÄúI hope you will see this measure as an additional expression of confidence in the banks and as such rise up to the occasion.
General Babangida urged them to be more creative particularly in the area if venture capital and other initiative financial products.
He also urged them to improve the quality of service to their customers and strive to minimise incidences of fraud either among bank employees or customers wit the collusion of staff. The president further asked banks in the country to continue to strictly abide by the banker‚Äôs tariff and stop finding ways to circumvent Central Bank guidelines.
On research and development, President Babangida said that there appears to be a total neglect of research investments and development, a factor which he said, determines the country‚Äôs high dependence on foreign inventions, technologies and fresh innovations.
I am aware that a number of industry oriented research institutes and their findings are being increasingly made use of by industry. You must recognise that this is not enough, particularly so since the activities of these institutes are limited by the amount of resources made available to them by government.
It is time therefore, said the president, for the large industrial concerns to establish research and development units for which appropriate tax incentives exist.
President Babangida also noted that both government and the private sector have been partners in the economic development of the country.
This time around, the president expects that the private sector will emerge as the bigger partner with government providing the needed services and infrastructure to keep the wheels of development moving.