The Nigeria’s Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has called for the reform in the swift passage of the national budget.
Speaking on behalf of Organized Business in Nigeria, the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Timothy Olawale stressed that “national development is premised on proper budgeting and disciplined implementation of the budget.
Olawale added that it can be rightly said that consistent delayed passage of national budget and below 50% implementation over the years have contributed to Nigeria’s slow growth”. Looking at the trend from 2014, the earliest time the National budget was passed was in 2016 and that was in the month of March.
Nigeria’s fiscal year begins in January and ends in December; hence, we cannot begin to imagine the dire consequences of the late passage of the budget on national development and business growth.
In his words, he emphasized development in other climes- in Ghana for instance, the budget for the 2019 fiscal year was approved in November 2018. In Ethiopia, the budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal years was approved few days before the commencement of the fiscal year in July 2018.
Similarly in Egypt, the budget for their 2018-2019 fiscal years was approved about a month to the commencement of the fiscal year. The stability and predictability of the budgetary process of these countries could be one of the reasons why they are becoming the new desired destination for foreign investments.
The NECA Boss equally agreed that the attempt to return the nation to a January – December budgetary year is welcome. Beyond enabling Government to focus on the business of development, it will also improve investors’ confidence and aid planning for both the private and public sectors.
In his closing statement, he reiterated that “businesses thrive on certainty of Government policies and programmes, a return to January to December fiscal year and focussed implementation of same will, no doubt, accelerate national development”. He also noted that “implementation is largely based on availability of revenue; however, Government should do well to ensure fiscal discipline, cut wastages and put more life into the war against corruption”.
Olawale urge for speedy action by both the Executive and Legislature to make this a reality, that no efforts must be spared to achieve a 100 percent implementation.
He further calls for a reform of the budgetary process.