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Traders pick holes in Budget 2014

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  • …Decry over concentration on recurrent

NIGERIAN Traders, weekend, lamented over the irregularities in the 2014 budget proposal submitted by the presidency to the National Assembly for passage, decrying that that the budget aside full of repetition, it was mainly prepared for civil servants not the entire Nigerians.

economyThey were of the view that, there were many things budgeted for in the appropriation bill, that were of no use nor have direct bearing on the well-being of the masses.

Taking a critical look at the bill, the Traders noted that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) allocated billions of naira to many things that were not under their mandates.

Among the things mentioned were budgeting money for fueling and maintenance of aircraft and boats, by agency that neither has nothing to do with aviation and water transport sector, nor possesses aircraft and boat as part of its utility equipment.

The National Association of the Nigerian Traders (NANTS) observed that the 76 per cent recurrent expenditure, and the 24 per cent capital components of the 2014 budget were rather lopsided; insisting, it was a clear violation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Recently, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attributed the high recurrent expenditure in the 2014 budget to increasing wage bill of workers and political office holders.

Consequently, the National Association of the Nigerian Traders (NANTS) said that with some of these imbalances in the 2014 appropriation bill, it deemed it fit to have a stakeholders’ consultation on Trade and Industrial Sector, in view of it relevance to the country’s economy, to address the matter.

Speaking at the forum in Abuja, the National President of NANTS, Ken Ukaoha explained that the present administration had since inception introduced several programmes and policies towards improving the sector for people to reap the dividends of democracy, but its efforts seem yielding nothing or little, due to poor budget performance.

”The sector is no doubt receiving boosts and attention particularly within the grassroots and rural communities. But for the sector that hold the economy to continue to add further value, appropriate budgeting is key to serve as catalyst that re-engineers productivity, create job and reduce poverty within the economy.

”NANTS has deemed the trade sector as a critical sector of the economy in view of its relevance to national development and in achieving the objectives of the transformation agenda. As we will all agree, almost every activity regarding exchanges in the economy revolves around trade. Indeed, apart from oil, the trade sector through import revenue is the largest revenue generator for the country.

“Similarly, to reposition Nigeria and arrive at becoming one of the twenty largest economies of the world by 2020 in accordance with our vision, trade is quite significant, especially given its role in manufacturing and investments. For this reason, the direction of the nation’s budget becomes significant as a compass to show development focus,” he said.

 

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