President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

By Bosun Awoniyi

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed the 2016 Appropriation Bill of 6.06 trillion naira (30.4 billion U.S dollars) into law with an oil benchmark of 38 U.S. dollars per barrel.

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari
The signing of the budget came as a relief to many Nigerians following series of controversies that surrounded its passing by the National Assembly.

Some economic experts in the country, who reacted to the development, urged the government to focus on full implementation of the capital component of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

“We have one of the largest budgets in terms of nominal value so it is expected to be an expansionary budget to boost activities in the economy,” Aminu Usman, a lecturer in the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, gave the advice in Abuja on Friday.

He suggested the government to start implementing the budget in earnest.

“When they start implementing the budget in earnest, then activities will pick up, and then prices will come down,” the expert told reporters.

He said government should also put in place an economic management team that is not partisan but highly professional.

On his part, the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry Limited (ACCI) Tony Ejinkonye, said budget implementation should focus on improving electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the country.

He said efforts should also be tailored to improve small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development which would help stimulate the economy.

According to him, the cost for lending was high, noting that more funds should be channeled into developing the SMEs.

Speaking in the same vein, Lawrence Ode, a policy analyst, said budget implementation should focus on developing critical sectors such as agriculture, education and manufacturing.

He said the industrialization of the nation would help reduce the growing poverty.

Uche Uwaleke, Head of Department of Banking and Finance Nasarawa State University, said the implementation of the budget would help counter the inflationary rate of 12.6 percent in the country.

Uwaleke added inflation rate had led to a high cost of doing business in the country, which resulted in the laying off of workers by many companies.

“We need a counter tool to reduce inflation and the counter tool is fiscal policies of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and government expenditure, the government needs to spend money in the economy,” he said.

According to him, government needs to invest more in the infrastructure and capital projects which would lead to job creation, noting that unemployment was on the high side in the country.

Uwaleke noted the signing of the budget would attract more investors into the country as most of them were eagerly waiting for the appropriation bill to be signed into law.

On the government side, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, told reporters in Lagos that the economy will be reflated with the 2016 budget.

Mohammed said with the signing of the budget, the economy would be reflated by increasing aggregate demand, money supply and job opportunities.

Meanwhile, activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday reacted positively to 2016 Budget signing by President Buhari with the market indices growing by 0.54 percent after declining for two consecutive days.

The All-Share Index improved by 137.81 points or 0.54 percent to close at 25,701.60 against 25,563.79 achieved on Thursday. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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