However, NECA, the umbrella organization for employers in the country, has provided assurance that signs of economic growth will begin to emerge afterward, contingent upon the pragmatic implementation of various government-initiated reforms and other measures.
The NECA’s Director-General, Adewale-Smart Oyerinde, categorized 2023 as one of the most challenging years for businesses. He attributed this challenge to factors such as the removal of the petrol subsidy and the harmonization of the foreign exchange.
According to him, “2023 was a year in which we had significant economic challenges that created different dynamics for organized businesses."
“While trying to surmount the obstacles that COVID threw in our ways, other challenges that we created for ourselves as a people continued to dig us deeper into the hole.
“It is now stale news to say tax remains top of the issue that organised businesses faced. Policy inconsistency from 2022 up to the early part of 2023 was also a serious challenge that organised businesses faced.
While the last administration made promises, the rate of reversal of those policies made it very difficult for organised businesses to plan.
“Similarly, regulatory and legislative incursion and harassment negated all the attempts at improving the ease of doing business.
“These were the things that we faced in the early part of 2023.”
He noted that after the general elections, “The new government came up and removed fuel subsidy which naturally increased the cost of doing business and living. Just as energy cost skyrocketed, the cost for logistics also skyrocketed.
“The harmonisation of the exchange rate also came with its own dynamics.
“The value of naira plummeted significantly and we are still trying to find a balance. Forex, which remains scarce, also had serious effects on the cost of doing business for organised businesses, especially those compelled to import inputs.
“All of these things created problems for organised businesses.