Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has said that the 2017 Budget is targeted at stimulating private sector investment and fast-tracking the exit of the economy out of recession.
The renewed emphasis on stimulating private sector investment is predicated on Government’s belief that it is only by partnering with the private sector that the economy can be propelled out of recession and onto the path of sustainable growth.
Udo Udoma gave the indication in Lagos at a breakfast interaction with Chief Finance Officers of top private sector corporate entities, facilitated by KPMG Consulting.
The minister said that “The good news is that the Budget is almost ready. We are almost through with our consultations with the National Assembly on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the outlines of the 2017 Budget, and will soon be submitting it to the National Assembly for their consideration”.
He explained that in setting out the spending plan and other priorities of Government, the annual budget plays an important signaling role for private economic actors, whose activities ultimately determine the health of the economy.
Government, the minister noted has identified a number of short-term recovery initiatives and has also worked out a long-term growth plan, all of which have been incorporated in the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP), and part of which has been considered in the preparation of the 2017 Federal Government Budget.
This NERGP, according to him, will present a coherent summary of Nigeria’s short and medium-term economic plans for the period 2017-2020. “In other words, by putting government strategies, directions, policy priorities and intended initiatives in one place, other stakeholders are better able to take their own strategic economic decisions”.
The sharp decline in oil prices, loss of up to 1.1 million barrels per day in crude oil production due to sabotage and the consequent low power supply due to shortage of gas supplies to electric power stations sent a triple shock through the economy.
“Quite unlike the situation in 2008, the economy has not been so easily able to shrug-off the triple shock. At that time Nigeria had significant fiscal and external buffers to withstand the exogenous shocks and internal haemorrhage as our foreign reserves, and savings in the excess crude account, amounted to well over US$ 50 billion.