THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce has blamed Nigeria’s poor infrastructure for the country’s inability to take advantage of the global energy supply shortfall caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to a statement by the LCCI, Nigeria should have been a major harvester of opportunities from the war between Russia and Ukraine in areas like gas supplies to Europe but “unfortunately, we do not have the infrastructure in place to produce enough gas for supply to Europe.”
The chamber said Nigeria would have been in a position to supply oil and gas to countries rejecting Russian oil and gas due to the sanctions imposed on the Eastern European country for invading Ukraine.
The statement quoted the President of the chamber, Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, as noting that the war between Ukraine and Russia would likely make the world’s hunger crisis even tougher to fight, given that the two countries in the war were major suppliers of staple grains like wheat to many nations.
“Nigeria’s food supply will surely come under some pressure as it imported four per cent of wheat from Ukraine and 27 per cent wheat from Russia in 2021, according to Gallup News. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that Russia was the sixth major exporter to Nigeria as of the third quarter of 2021, coming only after China, India, USA, Netherlands, and Belgium in that order,” the statement read in part.
According to the statement, it is unclear how long the current disruptions in the food supply chain will last, even though it has already triggered higher wheat prices around the world.
“In developing economies including Nigeria, where populations already struggle to afford food, disruptions to food supply may result in substantial additional hardship and instability,” it noted.
The chamber also called on the government at all levels to open up their reserves (if there are any) to boost supply in order to stabilise prices, at least in the short term.
“Alternatively, 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 statement added.