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The Federal Government has called on private sector investors to leverage the many opportunities that exist in the 2020 Appropriation Bill.

The proposed budget, government said, is intended to further reposition the economy on the path of higher, inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth, as well as create jobs.

Reiterating its commitment to strengthening partnerships with the private sector, government also encouraged prospects to invest in infrastructure being concessioned through private public partnerships (PPPs).

Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, said this at the 2019 Fellows’ Night and Investiture of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria, where he spoke on, “A Critical Analysis of the FGN 2020 Budget Proposals.”

Giving an overview of the 2020 budget, he said government is committed to finding the resources for infrastructural investment to create favourable environment for the private sector to increase their investments, and significantly contribute to economic growth and job creation.

On the implications of global and domestic developments, he mentioned that global economic recovery is projected to improve from 3.0 per cent projected for 2019 to 3.4 per cent in 2020, while sub-Saharan Africa is projected to continue to grow, rising from 3.2 per cent in 2019 to 3.6 per cent in 2020.

Noting that the financial sector would also benefit from investments in government securities, Akabueze said it was an opportune time for businesses in Nigeria.

This is because key reforms such as the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI), would be implemented with renewed vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management.

While having a peer comparison in relation to total taxes to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), value added tax (VAT) to GDP, and excise to GDP with other African nations, Akabueze explained that it indicates capacity to do a lot more to improve the country’s fiscal space.

He said: “Key assumptions driving the budget are realistic, derived from extensive and robust modelling with comparative analysis.

“Achieving FGN 2020 budget objectives require bold, decisive, and urgent action. Government has always maintained a comparative posture to oil benchmark price. Government is determined to act as may be required.”

Earlier, President and Chairman of Council, IoD Nigeria, Chris Okunowo, expressed worry that the 2020 budget, which is in deficit of N2.18 trillion, to be financed mainly by new foreign and domestic borrowings, privatisation proceeds, signature bonuses, and draw-downs on loans secured for specific purposes.
He argued that these will further add to Nigeria’s already high debt profile of $81.274 billion.

He noted that despite decades of multifaceted economic reforms, “the concern of directors and business leaders is that despite several reforms and economic frameworks introduced by the federal government, the Nigerian economy still appears to be moving at a snail speed and certainly not in conformity with the country’s resources – both human and material.”

Amidst all these challenges, Okunowo said the Institute has remained commitment to work with all stakeholders, to engender a business-friendly environment for a robust economic growth.

“More particularly, we have continued to canvass for good corporate governance of all private and public sector organisations in the country, and will continue to partner with all business and thought leaders from both the public and private sectors to push forward our innovative ideas for our collective benefits,” he said.

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