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FOCI seeks establishment of construction bank, reduction of tax levy

The Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) has called on the next administration to establish a construction Bank for infrastructure contractors to borrow to fund their…

The Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) has called on the next administration to establish a construction Bank for infrastructure contractors to borrow to fund their projects at single-digit interest rates.

Speaking during a consultative forum with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president of FOCI, Vincent Barrah, said getting funds for projects is becoming difficult, thus, the need for the bank to enable its members to carry out its activities.

“Financing of projects becomes a challenge due to paucity of funds and the attendant high-Interest rates from borrowing from Commercial Banks.

“New Contracts are being awarded at high Naira value, but the annual budgetary allocation remains the same. The connection between the award of contracts and funding of the existing capital budget is not sustainable.”

Barrah, while stressing that the group is apolitical, noted that insecurity has caused tremendous negative effects on the construction business and Nigeria as a whole.

“It has increased the cost of doing business and discourages investors from business opportunities. Many of our members are unable to access construction sites because of issues of insecurity. Nigerians are resilient people and will do their businesses diligently once the atmosphere is right,” he said.

He also called for any incoming government to take a strong stand on fiscal and monetary policies as they play a fundamental role in the nation’s development.

“One of the positive outcomes of these policy tools on economic performance is to help the country achieve sustained growth whilst reducing economic instability.

“On the flip side, skewed and contractionary fiscal and monetary policies have the tendency to create shocks and uncertainties in the business community with consequential effects on business survivability, investment promotion and national development at large.”

He added that many companies are shutting down operations, while the capacity utilization of others has reduced significantly due to the unavailability of inputs.

Responding, Tinubu assured that he will create the bank as well as seek long-term funding for infrastructural development.

He added that his administration would use technology and invest in the training of security personnel to sustain the momentum of eradicating security challenges in the country.

The former Lagos State governor pointed out that security would improve in the country when opportunities are created for all, warning that the neglect of the children of the poor by elites will lead to a threat to their investments since there is inequality in the distribution.

While stating that his administration would separate fiscal and monetary policies, he said his background in the financial sector gave him leverage to turn around Nigeria’s economic fortune, assuring that diligent attention would be given to stamping corruption out entirely from all sectors in the economy.

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