The controversies dogging the 2019 budget proposal may be far from over, as experts, gathered at the at the 2019 budget seminar of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), said the plan, as it is, fails to rise to the requirements of bravery, vision and determination.
Besides, the need to start paying attention to sub-national economic analysis, rather than a ritualistic focus on the “federal budget”, which does little for economic and social development and much less, for sovereign growth, was stressed.
The experts were of the view that until we focus on the unit of economic growth – the household, creating a nexus between the citizen and the state, managed by a critical mass of competent hands, it will not be possible for Nigeria to achieve aggregate greatness.
President of the CITN, Cyril Ede, said the seminar with the theme, “Accelerating Growth for Economic and Social Transformation”, was part of the institute’s drive to stimulate discourse that would lead to better and more result-oriented policy choices by government.
With the N8.83trn 2019 budget, and a provision for debt servicing accounting for 31 per cent of revenues, Ede said it is a cause for serious concern, as it shows that there is still a lot to be done in the area of internal resource mobilisation.
Similarly, the Managing Director, Investment Banking, Cordros Capital, Femi Ademola, who spoke on “Capital Investment: Defining the Critical Minimum for Growth Catalyzation”, said there is the need to improve infrastructure as a necessary condition to stimulate economic growth, which requires faithful implementations.
However, he said that government has limited financial resources to devote to increased capital expenditure for improving public services and face restrictions on its ability to raise debt, in particular, due to adherence to the principles of economic convergence and fiscal restraint enshrined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
According to the Founder of Proshare, Olufemi Awoyemi, the Federal Government’s N8.826 trillion 2019 budget is modest, mild and uninspiring, with a number of broad flaws, which is resting on a cushion of figures rather than a philosophy of progress.
Awoyemi, who spoke on “Fiscal Projections of the 2019 Budget: Challenges and Prospects”, at the seminar organised by CITN, said if the plan is to have any meaning to the lives of Nigerians, it has to find a bigger aspiration and a stronger set of hands, otherwise all the statistical noise will be nothing more than sound and fury, signifying nothing.