The lagos chamber pf commerce and industry (LCCI) has commended the outcome of the deliberations of the Senate on2015 Draft Budget.
The chamber also applauded the upper legislative chamber on decisions taken on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework [MTEF] and the Fiscal Strategy Paper [FSP].
President of the LCCI Alh. Remi Bello who made the commendation said many of the decisions are consistent with current realities and desired spending priorities for national development.
” We Commend the Senate’s decision to cut the 2015 National Assembly budget by 25 percent (N37.5 billion) from N150 billion to N112.5 billion. This will definitely free up resources to finance other priorities” he remarked.
According to him,The increase of the capital budget from N633 billion to N700 billion is good news. However, this figure remains grossly inadequate in the light of the huge infrastructure deficit in the country and the urgent need to build a robust and sustainable non-oil economy.
The senate’s decision to reduce the recurrent expenditure by N116 billion from N2.61 to N2.5 trillion is a welcome development. Although a more drastic reduction in recurrent budget was desirable.
The chamber therefore endorsed and commended the stance of the senate on the provision for the contentious Service Wide Vote in the draft 2015 budget.
Bello also noted that the decision to scrap that provision is salutary in the light of the transparency issues that have marred the Service Wide Vote over the years.
The Chamber also agreed with the Senate that it is better to devolve the responsibilities defined under the service wide vote to the relevant MDAs for ease of tracking and performance measurement.
LCCI further commended the Senate’s decision to put an end to the duplications in the budgetary provisions for Amnesty Programme and the Ministry of Niger Delta and the decision to consolidate all such activities in the Niger Delta Ministry.
” It is desirable to streamline all forms of overlap between the MDAs and consider the option of consolidating most of the overlapping activities. This will save the nation a great deal of financial and human resources.
We note the reduction of subsidies on petrol by 50 petrol from N200 billion to N100 billion and kerosene subsidy from N91 billion to N45.5 billion. We demand a total scrapping of subsidy on petroleum products as there is no rational basis for its retention in the budget, especially in the light of crash in global oil price.
The chamber explained that it will not only generate tremendous savings for investment in priority sectors such as infrastructures but also provide a great opportunity to liberate the downstream oil sector from the shackles of oppressive regulations and monumental corruption.
It said it will also pave the way for more robust private sector investment in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
“The LCCI hopes that the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriation will endorse the above position on the 2015 Draft Budget, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework [MTEF] and the Fiscal Strategy paper [FSP]
We urge the Executive arm of government to align itself with the new thinking of the National Assembly on the draft 2015 budget and the underlying assumptions in the larger interest of the Nigerian economy and the welfare of citizens” Bello said.