Though the controversial 2016 Budget is making a headway going by latest reports, Nigerian traders are still recounting their losses.The 2016 budget which was initially slated for passage on February 25th has been a subject of controversies for some time now over allegations of padding of allocations, hence the need for necessary adjustments and corrections.
According to President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANT), Ken Ukaoha, the fact that the budget had not been passed for implementation had put members’ activities on hold, thus denying them access to profit routes.
Explaining how, he said, just like the government, traders also plan their activities on government budget and the policies that follow up with the budget.
“As traders who are into buying and selling, import and exports activities for us have been very slow because the present predicament of the country as regards foreign exchange coupled with the absence of budget in place have kept us watching as we don’t even know the direction to face yet.
“We are yet to know what import policies the present administration will come up with; we also don’t know the import substitution agenda of government, all of these will be determined by the budget and as such we are slowing down on business because nobody wants to run at a loss. As I speak, 97.2 per cent of traders are no longer sure of importation because they can’t predict prices of goods and services.
“Thank God the issue on the budget has been resolved, there should no longer be any delay in its passage to enable activities spring up fully, then government too can talk of generating revenue from tax payers, especially now that focus has been shifted from oil”, he said.
He added that while government was set to diversify the economy, it was important that some decisions that affect businesses needed to be quickly taken and also be friendly; noting that the association was fully in support of the president decision not to devalue the local currency.
In the same vein, experts have called for urgent passage and implementation of the budget so as to keep investments flowing into the country.
Responding to media enquiry, the Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said the non-passage of the budget was slowing down government activities especially with respect to capital spendings. He noted that although there was a budgetary allocation that allowed limited spending to go on, there was none on capital projects which was needed to enable government function actively and create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“Government too can now talk of generating revenues, improve standard of living and grow the economy”, he explained.