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2018 Budget Cannot Grow Nigeria’s Economy – Rewane, others

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  • 2018 Budget Cannot Grow Nigeria’s Economy – Rewane, others

The 2018 budget recently presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly lacks the capacity to grow the economy, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, and other stakeholders in the academia and industry have said.

They said although the country was in dire need of growth given the current economic times, the 2018 budget was not an option in giving the economy a leap.

The stakeholders said this at the 2018 Budget Seminar organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Lagos on Friday.

Also present at the forum were a professor of Economics at the University of Lagos, Ifeanyi Nwokoma; the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf; and the Director-General, SEC, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, among others.

For the 2018 budget, Rewane said expenditure growth was zero, pointing out that there were no stimulants for growth.

“It is not an expansionary budget; we are not spending our way to growth,” he said.

He said multiple exchange rates in the economy were not addressed in the budget, noting that the prevalence of such rates would continue to distort the market.

He added, “Inflationary projection in the budget is not realistic. Government is silent on subsidy on power and petroleum products, and minimum wage. The projection for non-oil revenue is not realistic and the deficit gap may widen after all.”

In the same vein, Nwokoma described the 2018 budget as a very ambitious one.

He said, “Oil production is also ambitious. We are being too optimistic without a clear plan of how to achieve our target. Over the years, we have distorted the budget cycle. This will affect implementation and good accounting. Nigeria should have a clear budget cycle and budgetary interferences should be avoided.

“N305 per dollar exchange rate is not real. I foresee a wide margin in the budget implementation. Government ambition is magical. If we hasten the passage of the 2018 budget for February or so, 2017 budget implementation will be inconclusive.”

He added, “We are not learning from the challenges or problems of 2017 budget. It is likely we fall into same mess. Our budgetary woes have become recurrent, and we are not learning from the past.”

To this end, Yusuf said that the budget had a higher capital spending compared to previous years. This, he said, was commendable.

He also said the military, police, health and education were areas for higher recurrent spending, given their critical nature.

He added, “That the budget is focusing more on infrastructure is a good way to go. But given that subsidy areas are becoming a huge threat to the economy and the budget is rather silent on it calls for worry.

Yusuf said, “Being totally silent about this is bad. Contractor arrears are also becoming a threat as over ‘N2tn is at stake. The risk involved in doing business with government is becoming worrisome.

“The private sector participation in the budget was not made clear especially in terms of infrastructure financing. The private sector should play a major role here.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Business

FG Says Nigeria’s Rice Production Rises by 1.2mmt in Three years

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FG Interventions Boost Rice Production by 1.2mmt in Three Years

The Federal Government has said the nation’s rice production increased by 1.2 million metric tonnes within three years due to its interventions in the rice value chain.

This was disclosed by Mustapha Shehuri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, in Omor and Umerum at Ayamelum Local Government, Anambra State while assessing the Federal Government rice farms/mills project there.

He added that the federal government is working on revitalising its rice farm in Anambra to boost rice production, increase new jobs and improve the standard of the people in the state and Nigeria at large.

The minister was quoted as saying, “The present administration has provided various interventions to promote investment in the rice sector.

“As a result of these interventions, the country has increased its production from 4.8 million metric tonnes of milled rice in 2015 to over six million metric tonnes by 2019 with huge reduction in the nation’s deficit.

He added that President Muhammadu Buhari administration is pursuing and implementing programmes to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production because of its strategic importance as a major staple food crop.

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Economy

Lagos State Declares N89bn Surplus in 2019 After BudgIT False Report

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Lagos State Economically and Financial Stable, Declared N89bn Surplus in 2019

Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital, has declared an impressive N89 billion surplus for the year ended 2019.

This was disclosed in the state’s 2019 Audited Financial Statements.

The report was released following BudgIT, a public sector-focused financial information house, recent report titled ‘Ability of States to Meet Monthly Recurrent Expenditure and Loan Repayment Obligations, 2019’, that claimed the state was among states that can not meet monthly recurrent expenditure and loan repayment obligations.

A report, BudgIT later withdrew and apologised for misleading the public as several factors were not taken into consideration during the report. It added that Lagos was financially buoyant, and the only state with such financial capacity to function without federal allocations.

On Monday, Dr Rabiu Olowo, Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, in a statement to media houses, said the state was economically and financially buoyant.

In the statement titled ‘Lagos financially, economically stable’ said the commissioner said the state is presently doing 103 percent of the budget targets despite COVID-19, this he said is well above 2019 figures.

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Economy

Buhari to Inaugurate Nigeria’s First Standard Gauge Train in Itakpe-Warri Today

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Nigeria’s First Standard Gauge Train to Be Inaugurated Today

President Muhammadu Buhari will be in Itapke-Warri today, September 29, 2020 to inaugurate Nigeria’s first standard gauge train, the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line.

Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation disclosed this on Sunday.

Okhiria explained that President Buhari will conduct the inauguration virtually and not be physically present at the event.

He, however, said Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, would lead other members of the Federal Executive Council as well as other government functionaries to the event.

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