‘Capital budget insufficient to build sustainable non-oil economy’
THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has decried the inadequacy of the nation’s capital budget in bridging the infrastructure gap needed to build a robust and sustainable non-oil economy.
According to the chamber, the increase of the capital budget from N633 billion to N700 billion is good news, but the figure remains grossly inadequate in the light of the huge infrastructure deficit in the country and the urgent need to build a robust and sustainable non-oil economy.
With a huge infrastructural gap limiting activities of many industrial firms while increasing the cost of doing business in the country, LCCI sought increased budgetary allocations for infrastructural projects that would aid the realization of a sustainable non-oil economy.
The chamber in a statement made available to The Guardian, commended the outcome of the deliberations of the Senate on 2015 Draft Budget, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework [MTEF] and the Fiscal Strategy Paper [FSP], describing the decisions as consistent with current realities and desired spending priorities for national development.
On the payment of subsidies, the LCCI stated: “We note the reduction of subsidies on petrol by 50 per cent from N200 billion to N100 billion and kerosene subsidy from N91 billion to N45.5 billion. We demand a total scrapping of subsidy on petroleum products as there is no rational basis for its retention in the budget, especially in the light of crash in global oil price.
“This will not only generate tremendous savings for investment in priority sectors such as infrastructures but also provide a great opportunity to liberate the downstream oil sector from the shackles of oppressive regulations and monumental corruption.
“This would as well pave the way for more robust private sector investment in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. The LCCI hopes that the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriation will endorse the above position on the 2015 Draft Budget, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework [MTEF] and the Fiscal Strategy paper [FSP]”.
The chamber also commended the stance of the senate on the provision for the contentious Service Wide Vote in the draft 2015 budget.
According to LCCI, the decision to scrap this provision is salutary in the light of the transparency issues that have marred the Service Wide Vote over the years.
It added: “The Chamber is in agreement with the Senate that it is better to devolve the responsibilities defined under the service wide vote to the relevant MDAs for ease of tracking and performance measurement.”
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