BUKOLA Saraki, Senate president, has called for cooperation of all stakeholders in the implementation of 2018 national budget and make it work for the nation’s economic growth.
Speaking at the presentation of the budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint National Assembly, Saraki commended the president, the economic management team, all the national legislators and resilience Nigerians, for helping the country out of recession, but warned that it was not yet time to relax.
“It is pertinent to note that the implementation of the 2018 Budget – how it is implemented – will be a defining element of this administration. We must, therefore, continue to work together to steady the ship of this recovery,” he said.
The Senate president said while working to sustain the recovery, the fundamentals that drive Nigerian economy must also be reset so the country does not slide back into recession. “We must reassess the relationship between oil and our economy. Oil prices are gradually inching up, but that is no reason for complacency in our diversification drive. We must grow our economy away from oil – as well as the need to increase non-oil revenue generation and collection,” he said.
Besides, Saraki said that revenue from taxes as well as independent revenues from state owned enterprises should be taken seriously. He said further: “If the budget is to be funded, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to revenue under-performance. While there is a need to review extant laws guiding the operation of some government enterprises, I would urge for more determined effort on the part of the executive, to plug leakages.”
Apart from plucking leakages he warned government about borrowing saying that such borrowing must be targeted at productive ventures that would stimulate the economy. In addition, he said that such projects funded from borrowed funds “are not overpriced.”
He said further: “As the country emerges from that period of uncertainty, the question on the lips of many Nigerians has been this: How does the recovery translate into tangible economic benefits for me? We must remember that the real gains must be felt on a personal level by the individual, for economic recovery to have meaning. People are seeking to get back to work but cannot find jobs.
“While I commend your current efforts at tackling unemployment – especially among the youth through Federal Youth Programmes such as YouWin, N-Power, and YES-Programme – deliberate steps must be taken to make the 2018 budget a job oriented one.
“…we must see to the implementation of the Procurement law, with particular relevance to the part that has to do with support for Made-In-Nigeria goods. The implementation of the 2018 budget must anchor on the Made-In-Nigeria project. This should be reflected in government procurements in 2018.
“We must never lose sight of the need for equity and balanced development across the entire spread of our country. Infrastructural development should be seen to be well distributed, to create growth pools away from the major city centres and drive the regeneration of our rural areas. Agriculture, for instance, is meaningless without those that will engage in farming in the countryside. The current rate of rural-to-urban migration is alarming and unsustainable – congesting the cities and stretching resources to breaking point, while undermining the economic viability of some states. People must be able to see a future for themselves in every corner of this country, not just in the big cities.
“As I close, Mr. President, I would like to advise and caution that there is no better time in this Administration than now for a rigorous drive for good working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature. The early passage of the 2018 budget will depend on this good working relationship.”
– Nov 7, 2017 @ 17:27 GMT |