BY OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
The nation’s industrialists and financial experts have slammed the federal government over consistent and increased borrowing to fund N16.4trillion 2022 national budget.
The stakeholders who spoke, at the weekend said, though, its is not entirely bad to borrow as long as it would be put to judicious use, they urged government to begin to cut down on borrowing meant to argument budget implementation.
The National Assembly(NASS) had earlier passed the federal government’s revised expenditure plan of N16.4 trillion for 2022, citing the need to reflect new fiscal terms in the Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) 2021, provide for the 2023 general elections and other critical needs for the upward revision.
However, reacting on the budget, the director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Chinyere Almona said, government must explore cheaper alternative sources of financing away from debt.
“In the revised budget as passed by the National Assembly, the projected retained revenue was raised to N10.3 trillion against the N10.13 trillion proposed in the revised 2022 budget. This may be too ambitious when we look at the budgeted revenue performance for 2021,” she pointed out.
According to Almona, most of the items for which more funding was sought are recurrent expenditures, stating that, government may be under pressure regarding these recurrent expenses, ‘but it is not best practice to borrow for consumption.’
Similarly, analysts at Afrinvest Limited said, the National Assembly(NASS) passed the federal government’s revised expenditure plan of N16.4 trillion for 2022, citing the need to reflect new fiscal terms in the Petroleum Industry Act(PIA) 2021, provide for the 2023 general elections and other critical needs for the upward revision.
Analysts at Cowry Assets Management Limited noted that, much of the country’s rising debt was spent on recurrent expenditure and abandoned capital projects that could have eased business operations and catalysed profitability that would, in turn, yield higher income via taxation for the government; hence, the imbalance between the physical infrastructure and the huge debts so far.
Meanwhile , the president of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ide Udeagbala, described it as a budget of economic growth and sustainability and that, it is in line with the trends of recent year of presenting national budget in a timely manner.
Udeagbala, therefore, equally reassured that the national assembly has promised to process the appropriation Bill in a timely manner and before the end of the year, to sustain the January-December Budget cycle.
According to him, the association is however worried by the upward swing in the borrowing to finance the budget.