Friday, December 8, 2017 8.00PM / Proshare WebTV
Nigeria’s quest to achieve economic recovery and sustainable growth through its 2018 budget, came to the fore at the 2017 economic discourse hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria(ICAN), at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos.
The discourse which brought together stakeholders from the public and private sector space explored the theme “2018 FGN Budget and Beyond”, looking at key issues in the budget and how this will shape the Nigerian socio-economic landscape.
In his opening remarks, the President of the Institute Mallam Ismai’la Muhammadu Zakari, FCA said the forum was an opportunity for experts to examine the 2018 budget and share their perspectives on how it can drive economic growth in Nigeria, and areas the government must address in the budget.
Mallam Zakari asserted that in a time and phase where digital technology was revolutionizing the globe, Nigeria’s policy makers had the task of driving and implementing robust frameworks, that make the economy competitive.
Zakari called for transparency and accountability in the implementation of the 2018 budget, which must align with best practises like the International Accounting Standards.
Chairman of the occasion and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr Tunde Lemo giving his observations on the 2018 FGN Budget, shared that from the assumptions the non-oil revenue projection of over N4trl was too optimistic. He also identified the debt profile of the nation, as a pressure point that the FG has to address effectively.
Giving the keynote presentation Prof Mike Obadan of the Department of Economics, University of Benin said the pace of Nigeria’s economic recovery from recession, was commendable but stated that the oil production estimate for the 2018 budget was a highly optimistic one from the government.
Prof Obadan was of the strong view that relative peace and stability in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region, will guarantee the oil production estimate, which he noted had been recently capped by the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries for Nigeria and Libya to 1.8ml bpd.
Looking at 2018 as a pre-election year for Nigeria, Prof Obadan shared that the inflation target of about 12.4%, from the current 15.9%, may not be realized.
The economist called for the intensification and mobilization of the Non-Oil revenue base and rationalize public expenditure which will be vital in their budget implementation. Prof Obadan charged the Federal Government to fully implement the capital expenditure component of the 2018 budget.
Dr Andrew Nevin Chief Economist of the PriceWaterHouse Coopers of Nigeria, shared that the implementation of the 2018 budget was not a fiscalstimulus to drive economic growth in Nigeria. Nevin said the government had the task of creating the enabling environment to attract private capital investments, to finance the economic recovery plan of the nation.
Mr Tope Babalola of the Research Department of Proshare Nigeria on the 2018 budget, emphasized the need for the Federal Government to rebalance its debt portfolio and address the lack of proper legal framework/valuation structure which could pose a threat to maximizing independent revenue.
Babalola also tasked policy makers to chart a pathway that will improve private capital contribution to the gross capital formation in Nigeria. He also stressed the need for Nigeria to give top priority to Foreign Direct Investments inflows into the country, which are real assets.