The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) yesterday said inspite of the bleak economic outlook and predictions for Nigeria, the 2016 budget proposal holds key to the nation’s economic recovery.
Its President, Tony Ejinkeonye, who spoke in an interview in Abuja, argued that that if the budget proposal is passed by the National Assembly and it is faithful implemented, it holds the promise of setting the economy on the path of quick recovery.
He said: “Despite the prediction that oil price may fall as low as $20 per barrel, there are still huge potentials for inclusive growth and sustainable development in the coming year notwithstanding the fact that about the 50 per cent revenue is expected from oil receipts to fund the N6.08 trillion budget together with the projected increase from internally generated revenue (IGR).
“For the country to actualise its goals, we need a measure of fiscal discipline and strict budgetary control monitoring and implementation.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, in his budget presentation to the National Assembly indicated that the focus of the budget would be on inclusive growth. This was expected to be achieved using the budget as a platform for putting Nigerians to work and having job creation as the primary focus of every aspect of the execution of the budget.
“This is to be driven by the private sector and signifies a clear understanding of what is needed in this regard as private sector and not civil service jobs have the potential of solving the problems presently affecting the country.”
He said the proposal for the reduction in tax rates for smaller businesses as well as subsidised funding for priority sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals are in the right direction.
“There were indications that the spending would both stimulate the economy and the policy of funding a scheme to employ about 500,000 graduate teachers by states and local government areas would go a long way in reducing unemployment,” he added.
The ACCI chief also commended the revised Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development fund (MSMEDF) guidelines issued by Development Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support banks and other financial institutions. According to him, the revision of the guidelines that help start –ups under the fund to access funds at zero interest rate and collateral requirements for start-up to include educational certificates is healthy for economic development.