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Government promises fiscal climate to enable human, infrastructure investments

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said the federal government is committed to creating a fiscal climate that will enable investment in human and physical infrastructure to achieve growth. Ahmed noted that while it is important to invest in infrastructure, but without investments in human capital, the infrastructure will depreciate. 
 
Ahmed, who made this announcement on Tuesday, at the Nigeria Economic Outlook 2020 edition, organised by Deloitte in Lagos, said: “We hope to create the right fiscal climate to enable Investment in key levers, including: human and physical infrastructure.”She said this is imperative to the achievement of impactful socio-economic growth and development that will create jobs, alleviate poverty, and create a competitive, enabling business environment.
 
According to her, key reforms such as the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI), will be implemented with increased vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management.She noted that Achieving fiscal sustainability and macro-fiscal objectives of government will require bold, decisive and urgent action, adding that government is determined to act as may be required.
 
“I call on everyone to join hands in advocating for the Finance Act, spread the unsung aspects… We welcome private sector’s input and participation on all our reform efforts,” she said. 
   
Speaking on Nigeria’s fiscal landscape and business imperatives, Partner and West Africa Tax Leader, Deloitte, Yomi Olugbenro, said stakeholders have a fair share of upside and downside prospects in 2020.  
 
Olugbenro said the growing Nigeria’s tax revenue requires continuous easing of the business climate, addressing the plaguing structural issues, and combating trust deficit with increased transparency. He stressed the need for government to create urgent and transitional framework for the Finance Act to work, as the law is like panel-beating an old vehicle. “We need a new vehicle to convey modern realities.”
 
He said government needs to anticipate and sense changes in the global and local economy; block compliance leakages and develop business strategy for tax optimisation, while creating response mechanism for sustained regulatory pressure and scrutiny.  
  
In his remarks, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, challenged economists to change the narrative in Nigeria, by encouraging businesses to produce locally instead of importing raw materials from overseas.
 
According to him, there is a growth in transport contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP) at two per cent, a development that has never occurred in the sector, adding that in the next two years, it is expected to rise to four percent. 

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