2019 Budget Delay: Experts Set May Deadline for NASS
Some financial experts on Wednesday decried consistent delay in passage of the yearly budget and urged the outgoing National Assembly (NASS) to ensure that the 2019 budget was passed before May.
They told newsmen in an interviews in Lagos that constant budget delay was affecting economic activities.
Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said that delay in budget passage which had become a perennial issue was stalling development.
Tella said that the outgoing assembly should endeavour to pass the budget before end of May.
“The delay this year and its effect will not be different except that if the outgoing NASS decides to pass the budget before end of May, 2019.
“That will be a most responsible step taken to deepen democracy and will definitely enhance the economic growth that we have started witnessing since last quarter of 2018,’’ Tella said.
He said that implementation of the budget would rub off positively on the capital market.
“The passage of the annual budget normally signals direction of investments in Nigeria and kicks off activities in more dynamic fashion in the capital market,’’ he added.
Mr Sola Oni, a chartered stockbroker and Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, said that the budget sets the tone for economic activities.
Oni said that budget enables investment advisers to analyse the direction of the economy and advise their clients accordingly.
“In the capital market, budget can elicit portfolio review in favour of the sectors that will drive economic activities for the year.
“Delay in the passage of the budget puts the market in a quandary as it makes it difficult for investors to take position.
“This has always been a major snag in Nigeria. Forecast is difficult to make in this type of environment.
“We hope our government shall get it right in no distant time,’’ Oni said.
Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., called on NASS members to give the budget express hearing and attention for speedy passage.
Omordion said that constant delay in budget passage had affected economic growth and development.
He expressed fears that the budget would further be delayed with the forthcoming governorship election.
NAN reports that Buhari had in December presented a N8.83 trillion budget for 2019 before the joint sitting of NASS.
The fiscal plan for 2019 is smaller in size compared to N9.12 trillion budget for 2018.
The proposed budget shows that about a quarter of the sum, N2.14 trillion will be spent on debt servicing, while capital expenditure is expected to gulp N2.03 trillion.
Government also intends to spend N4.04 trillion on recurrent expenditure and N492.36 billion on statutory transfer in the course of 2019 fiscal year.
The fiscal policy is predicated on crude oil production of 2.3 million barrels a day, an oil price of 60 dollars per barrel and an exchange rate of N305 to the dollar.
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