Reactions from the various segments of the Nigerian economy operators have indicated some level of optimism that the country’s economy would be improved with a full implementation of the 2018 budget.In concluding part of other reactions, these are the rest from experts in different fields.
Good on infrastructure development – MAN
Frank Jacobs, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said : “We applaud the initiatives of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his promise to construct the 2nd Niger Bridge, Reconstruct East West Road, North East Road and the provision of infrastructure in the country. Most gratifying is the fact that more infrastructure development projects are provided for in the proposed 2018 budget of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is plethora of evidences to support the fact that quantity and quality of infrastructure would directly raise the productivity of human capital, physical capital, hence economic growth,
“Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) 2014 report shows that road is the principal mode of transportation in Nigeria and accounts for 80 per cent of goods’ traffic with only 20 per cent of the network tarred.
Therefore, providing for development of road infrastructure in 2018 budget is a welcome development. Interestingly, the renewed efforts of the Government in infrastructure provision, especially road construction is impressive. I am aware of N100 billion presented to the Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing by the Federal Government for 25 road projects across the six geo-political zones.
We hope for a conscientious management of the funds so that Nigeria can have the maximum possible achievable number of roads.
“You may agree that sound infrastructure development is the foundation of industrialization. Unfortunately, it is deficient in the economy, which has been the bane of increase in economic activities that is needed to grow and develop the economy. Information from World Economic Forum indicates that every Dollar spent on any capital project such as road construction generates an economic return of 5-25%. Deductively, this succinctly shows that every Naira spent on provision of road infrastructure may trigger at least 5% economic growth.
The construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge is well over due considering the fact that the 1st bridge was constructed in 1965 and the residual life span appears indeterminate at the moment. Besides avoiding the catastrophe of eventual collapse, the 2nd Niger Bridge will reduce the pressure on the 1st bridge and ensure a continuous movement of goods, people and capital across the region for many years to come.
“The importance of the Second Niger Bridge cannot be overemphasized as it is a critical arterial infrastructure that links the rest of the country with the states in the South-East and South- South of Nigeria, the industrial hub and the oil producing region of the country.
‘‘The contribution of infrastructure to an economy, especially its industrial sector, cannot also be over-stressed; this is because they facilitate trade, increased productivity, reduce production cost, increase employment creation, improve competiveness of domestic products and improved capacity utilization of industries. In addition, the work components of construction of the Bridge would offer employment opportunities to Nigerians.’’
Oil price benchmark good – Oil industry chiefs
Abiodun Adesanya, Chief Executive Officer, Degeconek Nigeria Limited, a petroleum geosciences, reservoir engineering and project economics consulting firms said: “The government’s projections is realisable. The projections are achievable provided there is no disruption to daily production through vandalisation of infrastructure and there is no cut in production by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.”
Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, said “The projection appears realistic. “Projecting oil price on $45 per barrel is realistic based on what has been happening to oil price. The excess crude account is a good way for saving for the future. It should not be abolished, rather it should be strengthened.”
But PENGASSAN cautions against selling oil, gas assets
However, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has cautioned the Federal Government against selling profitable oil and gas assets or selling assets in the industry as scrap to fund the 2018 budget.
The umbrella body for senior workers in Petroleum sector, expressed its support to any other measure to fund the budget aside selling oil and gas assets, and called on the National Assembly to reject as it had done in the past because the plan is not in the national interest.
Reacting to plans by the government to sell the oil and gas assets to fund the budget, PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Fortune Obi, noted that the idea was rejected by majority Nigeria when it was first mooted in 2016.
Obi described the plan to sell the national assets in the oil and gas industry to fund the budget as a way to hand over collective common wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish majority of Nigerians, advising that instead of selling those assets, the government should look for other ways of funding the budget such as plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.
According to him, “We will not allow the commonwealth of the country to be given away to cronies of the government all in the name of sale of the assets in the industry to fund the budget. The Government should critically evaluate the assets to look at their viability and profitability. Profitable assets such as such as NLNG and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations that has become a huge revenue earner for the country, should be kept by the government to the benefit of the Nigerian majority. We also advise the government to endeavour to put repair assets that are in state of disrepairs but not to sell them as scrap to some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians.”
Obi contended that the plan would not serve national interest, as “no nation can develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets, adding that this plan will mortgage the future of our great country in the hands of few cabals.”
Good in CAPEX, bad in debt servicing – APT Securities
The Managing Director/CEO, APT Securities & Funds Limited, said: “ It is an expansionary budget which the economy needs to fully recover from recession. The proportion of the recurrent expenditure is gradually coming down while the capital expenditure is increasing which is good for development. However, the amount of N2 trillion for debt servicing is on the high side. There is a need for caution or restructure our debt to less expensive options. The high amount allocated to Agriculture is confirming the FGN intentions to be food sufficient and likely to export as source of Foreign Exchange.”
Just rituals, no implementation – Highcap Securities
Managing Director/CEO, Mr. David Adonri, stated: “I am no longer thrilled by the ritual of budget presentation. They don’t implement it. It’s just deceit and academic exercise. All the past budgets by past leaders are all good; the problem we have in this country is that of sincere implementation.”
Too little at N50,000 per annum per Nigerian – ISAN
Mr. Moses Igbrude, spokesperson for Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN said: “A budget is a translation of a plan into monetary value within certain period of time usually one year. It’s a guide on how income and expenditure are matched for effective and efficient resource management.
Having a budget is one thing, while the funding and the required will to implement it to the fullest is another ball game entirely. How does this N8.6 trillion budget translate into real economic benefits to ordinary Nigerian? If we are to divide the N8.612 trillion over 170 million estimated population one Nigerian will get N50,658.82 per year. It is as low as that, but to achieve meaningful progress the Federal Government and other arms of government must work together to eliminate wastages by blocking all leakages in the system. They should focus on economic areas where the masses will feel the impact, like agriculture, education and job creation by providing enabling environment for doing business and if businesses are doing well government will benefit, not through only job creations, but as well as through taxes and corporate social responsibility.”
Source: The Vanguard