The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has urged the Federal Government to take seriously the completion of projects like the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, from Nigeria to Algeria. Arising from the calamities of the ongoing  war between Russia and Ukraine,    the chamber noted that   Nigeria could explore emerging opportunities to earn huge foreign exchange inflow in the medium to long-term. 

Its President Michael Olawale-Cole, assured that with this, the country can explore the opportunity of exporting gas to Europe. “We should also target Trans-Saharan and European markets with the ongoing construction of the Ajaokuta, Kaduna, Kano Gas Pipeline, popularly known as AKK Gas Pipeline.” 

He emphasised that the war will likely make the world’s hunger crisis even tougher to fight, as the countries are two of the world’s major suppliers of staple grains like wheat. 

Olawale-Cole projected that a protracted crisis would  increase the likelihood of supply interruptions and higher food prices for many people — including those who can least afford them. “Nigeria’s food supply will surely come under some pressure as it imported 4% of wheat from Ukraine and 27% of wheat from Russia in 2021 according to Gallup News. 

He therefore asked that government at all levels, should open up their reserves (if there are any) to boost supply to stabilize prices at least in the short term. Alternatively, the LCCI boss suggested that the government should intervene by way of initiating imports from other sources outside the war zones. “However, the most sustainable solution is for the government to boost local production of these staples to levels that meet local demand. 

“The world economy is already feeling the impact of the disruptions caused by the war on global supply chains. This is reflected in rising local prices of petrol and diesel, as in the case of Nigeria where we depend on oil imports. Today, it is not just about the skyrocketing price of diesel which has risen above N700.00/litre, but that the product is now scarce and difficult to get.

Commending the evacuation efforts so far made by the Federal Government, the chamber called for more efforts as situation reports confirm that there are still stranded students in Ukraine and neighbouring countries whose fate of escape or survival is becoming uncertain by the day. 

*We can only call for more efforts to speed up the evacuation of Nigerians from the war-torn region. Looking at the economics of these crises, Nigeria should have been a major harvester of opportunities from the war between Russia and Ukraine in areas like gas supplies to Europe where Russian oil and gas have been rejected as part of sanctions on Russian for invading Ukraine. Unfortunately, we do not have the infrastructure in place to produce enough gas for supply to Europe.”

The chamber also called on the  Federal Government to deploy the instrument of diplomacy in reaching out to well-meaning world powers towards a speedy resolution of this crisis.

“ The duration of this war is a critical variable in determining the extent of damage that may occur as a result of this war. Time is of the essence. “Secondly, we reiterate our earlier recommendation that refining of our crude remains the most sustainable option especially when we consider the huge cost of subsidy on government finances. On refurbishing the refineries, government should consider the joint venture model similar to the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) model.”

Source- Sun News.