OPS calls for speedy passage of 2018 budget
The group, which urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the budget, stressed that the 2018 budget was supposed to address the significant issues of infrastructure investment and employment generation.
The expressed fears that the delay is plunging the economy of the country into a state of inertia, particularly in the first quarter of the year.
The group under the platform of the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) said it observed with dismay, that it had become a norm with the present democratic dispensation for the budget to be unduly delayed.
NECA appealed to both the legislative and executive arms of government to mutually agree on a time frame that would ensure that the budget for the following year is passed into law before the end of every current fiscal year.
The President of the association, Larry Ettah, said: “In December 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.
However, the National Assembly did not pass the bill until May 11, 2017, almost six months after it was presented. We recollect that President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2018 budget to our Legislators in November, 2017. As at today, there exists an uncomfortable silence from the Executives and National Assembly on the passage of the Budget.
“A delayed budget also mean delayed investment, the outcome would certainly become obvious, and we will now be paying a higher cost of doing business in terms of getting our goods across. We have seen a government that is making an attempt to spend a lot more on the capital side of budget but the soon we begin to have the investments the better. It will affect investments in repair of roads, power, transportation, health services, it will also affect services in education sector and among others.”
The NECA boss noted that the Buhari-led administration should focus more in tackling the high rate of unemployment and ensuring sufficient food for the masses in the country, even though the economy from the latest report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) grew 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
On recurring fuel scarcity and fraudulent subsidy regime, the OPS, said that the time has come for government to choose economic imperative over political expediency by allowing the pump price to reflect the reality of the market.
To ensure the economy impacts lives of ordinary Nigerians, the group urged federal and state governments to remain focused on ensuring broad-based economic recovery that will ensure improved economic activity across most economic sectors, develop business friendly-laws and policies, ensure the continuous existence of businesses by avoiding inconsistencies in policies, boost employment, improve corporate and firm performance and reduce poverty and unemployment.
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