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Accent delay sending wrong signals to investors, recession recovery efforts—Experts

Discordant voices trailing the observed delay in the presidential accent to the already passed 2017 national budget without any form of objection or otherwise is rising on a daily basis.

Finance analysts over the weekend averred that the scenario is capable of sending wrong signals to investors and further confuse efforts of the federal government in its clams of early exit from recession.

Even from the corridors of power, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, last week in an emergency meeting with the 36 States Commissioners’ of Agriculture called on the states to see how they can raise about N2.98bn to purchase pesticides for the fighting of army worms currently ravaging crops in several states.

He was quick to point out that the delay in accenting to the 2017 budget has rendered his ministry helpless in the matter which is in need of urgency.

Only weekend, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tunde Lemo, said the delay in the signing of the 2017 budget into law is not too good for the economy, especially when the country is still in recession.

Speaking during a lecture he delivered at the D.S. Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic, Itori, Ogun State, the retired banker averred that in countries where the budget cycle runs from the beginning of the year, the Appropriation Bill would have been submitted by September of the preceding year.

He said “I think the National Assembly can improve on the efficiency of passage of the budget in the sense that we all know the timetable for budget implementation.

“And in other climes, if you know you are implementing a budget from January, by September of the preceding year that budget should be with the National Assembly. For me, three months should be sufficient for them to go through it so that we hit the ground running from day one in the New Year.”

“However, the public must also note that the fact that the budget is delayed does not mean that everything must grind to a halt. There is a policy in government that you can implement every account held up to a percentage of what you did the preceding year, so that you have a situation where everything did not grind to a halt.

“Indeed, if we must race against time and take Nigeria out of recession, by now we should have had a budget running. It is not too good that we are still having this delay for this long period. My advice is that we should plan against next year’s budget; by August or September this year, the 2018 budget should be submitted to the National Assembly, so that by January 2018, we can hit the ground running.”

Another development economist, Dr. Ken Igboanugo said “It is unfortunate that a government that is serious to exit recession is now delaying accent to an already passed budget”.

“I wonder why the Acting president is delaying his constitutional role, rather chose to fly to Cross River and other places while the economy is almost at stand still.

“For me he has any grudge against certain aspects, let him point it out as soon as possible or go ahead and sign it into law this week, otherwise, the silence can be interpreted as incompetency or dereliction of duty.

According to him, “A lot of investors are waiting and watching”.

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