February 18, 2019

CIBN laments impact of budget delays on national productivity

Urges FG to sign CFTA

By Babajide Komolafe

THE Chartered Institute of Nigeria (CIBN) has lamented the negative impact of budget delays on national productivity calling on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to close ranks and release the budget on time.

CIBN President, Dr. Uche Olowu, made this call while speaking at the institute’s fifth Economic Outlook tagged ‘Implications for Business in Nigeria in 2019.’

Stressing the need for a new approach to the nation’s budget, Olowu said: “The country needs to rethink its strategy of handling some of its economic activities. For instance, according to the African Development Bank, ADB, Nigeria needs to re-orient its federal budget currently dominated by recurrent spending towards more capital expenditure and accumulating savings to sustain social spending.

2019 Budget Presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at the at a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja

“Besides, delays in budget approval and signing have become predominant that it is not available for implementation in most cases in the first quarter and rare cases a better part of the second quarter over the past 15 years. Incidentally, this year is not an exception. This has led to uncertainty in the system, affecting the delivery of projects which has profound impact on productivity in the economy. I, therefore, wish to implore the executive and legislative arms of government to close ranks to release the budget on time.”

The CIBN, however, disagreed with the position of the organised private sector on the Continental Free Trade Agreement, CFTA, urging the federal government to sign the agreement. “I wish to encourage the government to ratify the Continental Free Trade Agreement, CFTA, designed to create a single continental market for goods and services as well as the free movement of business persons and investments across the continent”, he said.

The CIBN President also called for the faithful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, stressing this is critical to the growth prospect of the economy. He said: “This is a critical moment in this country. Despite the efforts of the Federal Government, we are still living with insecurity, huge infrastructural deficits, high poverty levels etc. Notwithstanding, the country’s economy is slowly recovering, but efforts must be intensified to address the identified challenges.

“Specifically, it is generally believed that the prospect of the country depends on the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, which anchors its industrialization. In view of this, we call on the Federal Government to ensure that the ERGP is faithfully, efficiently and speedily implemented.”