The Federal Government said on Monday that the focus of the 2017 Budget would be to stimulate private sector investment and fast-track the exit of the economy from recession.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, who stated this in Lagos at a breakfast interaction meeting with Chief Finance Officers of top private sector corporate entities, facilitated by KPMG Consulting, said the budget would soon to be submitted National Assembly for consideration.
Mr. Udoma said the renewed emphasis on stimulating private sector investment was predicated on government’s belief that it was only by partnering with the private sector that the economy can be propelled out of recession and onto the path of sustainable growth.
“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 said.
Apart from identifying a number of short-term recovery initiatives, the minister said government has also worked out a long-term growth plan, all of which have been incorporated in the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP), considered in the preparation of the 2017 Federal Budget.
The NERGP, according to him, would present a 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 lessons we can draw from the recent past is that it is important to build up fiscal buffers, undertake an aggressive investment driven model and diversify from our reliance on oil and gas for foreign exchange earnings and government revenue,” he said
Government is committed to building sustainable fiscal buffers, a decision signposted by what the Federal Government has sought to do in the context of the actions it has taken this year, he said.
He said government’s immediate priority was to stimulate and revitalise the economy, adding that it was constantly looking at ways to develop and build social safety nets to mitigate the effects of currency weakness and re-pricing of petroleum products.
Apart from government’s social investment programmes, he said government had taken other decisions to avoid laying off workers and focus on increasing non-oil revenues and ensuring greater transparency and efficiency in the use of available resources as well as improving inclusion with the social intervention programmes.
Furthermore, government has adopted a targeted approach to capital expenditure to ensure that budgetary releases are consistently made to sectors like infrastructure, agriculture and others whose activities have the capacity of driving economic growth and fostering job creation.