Standard Chartered Bank hosts interactive session on 2017 budget
Following the sign off of the 2017 Budget by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria held a customer engagement forum for select clients of the Bank to provide insight on aspects of the budget and its impact to businesses within the Nigerian economy.
The session was facilitated by Yomi Olugbenro, Lead Partner, Tax and Regulatory Services, Deloitte West Africa, who spoke on the topic, “The Nigeria Budget & Fiscal Focus 2017: Overview of Budget, Economic Recovery & Growth Plan and National Tax Policy.”
In his presentation, Olugbenro informed that the N7.44 trillion 2017 budget is a 23 per cent increase over that of last year, adding that dearth of infrastructure and other micro-economic indicators have increasingly made it challenging for businesses to thrive compared to counterparts in similar economies.
Olugbenro, who also spoke on taxation, the ease of doing business, interest rate, the foreign exchange market, government borrowing and lending rates, advised business owners to seek the right information as it relates to their respective businesses. This will ensure a clear understanding of policies and systems within the local economy to enable the ease of transactions.
Speaking on the Budget, he said: “The budget is an integral part of the economic recovery and growth plan. While there’s noticeable alignment between the Federal Government budget and the economic recovery and growth plan, full implementation of capital project is critical to achieving desired developments and recovery.
“The current level of revenues remain low and unable to galvanise desired developments, sustained effort is therefore required to raise non-oil tax revenue as borrowing comes with attendant costs. Debt to GDP ratio appears decent in principle, but low level of revenues means about 1/3 of revenue is spent on debt servicing. That is a major concern, especially with our history of waste and application of borrowings.”
We must also curtail the level of recurrent expenditure currently at 70% and steadily raise capital expenditure to a minimum of 50% of aggregate expenditure.”
He added that the 2017 budget is a catalyst for economic recovery and is expected to stimulate the economy, build infrastructure, deliver growth, and dependent on non-oil revenue and borrowing.
“The amount of non-oil revenue generation will be a determining factor for the degree of implementation. Borrowing must be restricted to capital projects. In the medium to long term, government intends to focus on diversification through import substitution and export promotion,” he said.
Explaining the objective of the forum, Head, Retail Banking, Standard Chartered, Ebehijie Momoh, said the primary purpose was to add value to clients of the Bank.
“The signing of the Nigeria 2017 budget was a significant milestone for many businesses owners and industries as it marked what many perceive to be a green light for accelerated economic growth in the country. This forum was organised to ensure our clients have a better understanding of the impact of the budget on their businesses and how the Bank can provide support to enable them achieve their aspirations. We are, in our little way, making sure that our clients have the best support required to navigate through the second half of the year as we believe the economy is being positioned to improve significantly.”