By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has warned that continued delay in the passage of 2019 federal budget is unhealthy for the nation’s economic recovery and pleaded with the National Assembly to speed up the passage to spur economic activities.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, described as worrisome and disheartening, the continued delay in the passage of 2019 national budget which, sadly, was becoming a culture.
Olawale stated: “The continuous delay in budget passage year on year is worrisome and continues to be a major source of concern for the private sector. The importance of quick passage of the budget cannot be overemphasized as it plays a very critical role in economic development. Looking at the trend from 2014, the earliest time the budget was passed was in 2016 and that was in the month of March. Nigeria’s fiscal year begins in January and ends in December; hence, we cannot begin to imagine the dire consequences of the late passage of the budget on national development and business growth.
“In Ghana for instance, the budget for the 2019 fiscal year was approved in November 2018. In Ethiopia, the budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year was approved few days before the commencement of the fiscal year in July 2018. Similarly in Egypt, the budget for their 2018-2019 fiscal year was approved about a month to the commencement of the fiscal year. The stability and predictability of the budgetary process of these countries could be one of the reasons why they are becoming the new desired destination for foreign investments.”
Advising on a way out for Nigeria, Olawale said, “If we truly want to get the country on the track of economic prosperity as soon as possible, we need to accord extreme importance to the early passage of the budget.