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NECA worried about budget delay


Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association NECA executives

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), has again decried the recurring delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget, which it said appears to have become a culture.

The Association said the continuous delay in budget passage year-on-year is worrisome, and continues to be a major source of concern for the private sector.

Expressing his concern, the Director-General of NECA, Timothy Olawale, who described as disheartening, the continuous delay, said the importance of quick passage of the budget cannot be over-emphasised, as it plays a very critical role in economic development.

He said that for some years now, the process leading to the approval and passing of budget in Nigeria, has always been a victim of the proverbial fighting of two elephants.

On some of the adverse effects of late passaging of the budget, Olawale said a critical component of the budget such as capital expenditure, which to a large extent, plays a major role in economic development, and suffers infrastructural reforms.

These are meant to attract investments and improve the lives of the populace, but are put on hold along with business decisions, which could translate to the frustration of expansion and employment generation.

He advised that if Nigeria truly wants to get on the track of economic prosperity as soon as possible, there is a need to accord extreme importance to the early passage of the budget.

According to him, there has to be a defined time frame, which should be religiously followed as seen in other countries, while urging lawmakers to give the 2019 budget the utmost importance so that the economy does not suffer at the expense of politics.

He said: “Looking at the trend from 2014, the earliest time the budget was passed was in 2016, and that was in the month of March. Nigeria’s fiscal year begins in January and ends in December; hence, we cannot begin to imagine the dire consequences of the late passage of the budget on national development and business growth.

“In Ghana for instance, the budget for the 2019 fiscal year was approved in November 2018. In Ethiopia, the budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year was approved few days before the commencement of the fiscal year in July 2018.

Similarly in Egypt, the budget for their 2018-2019 fiscal year was approved about a month to the commencement of the fiscal year.

The stability and predictability of the budgetary process of these countries could be one of the reasons why they are becoming the new desired destination for foreign investments.”

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