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Recession: We Never Had This Bad – Rep

By Tony Udemba

Oghene Emma Egoh is a member of the House of Representatives, representing Amuwo Odofin federal constituency of Lagos State, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He stated his concern for the growing hunger in the land and the discriminatory approach by the present government in its war against corruption, just as he described the whistle-blower policy as capable of reducing the spate of corruption in the country. He also spoke on insecurity and other topical issues.
What are your views concerning the fight against corruption?
There is no doubt that the government is doing its best in the on-going fight against corruption in the country, especially given the spate of discoveries of huge sums of funds both in local and foreign currencies  in the houses and business premises of some yet to be identified persons. Certainly with these discoveries,   the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is doing its best in fighting corruption which has continued to ravage the nation for too long. While this is going on,  a major concern  to most Nigerians is the pattern of discoveries of these huge sums of cash,  as exemplified by grave silence maintained by the EFCC on the ownership of the discovered funds , the premises from where the funds were hidden.  Simply put, EFFCC must tell the public the names of the owners of the recovered funds, as well as the owners of the properties where the funds were traced to. These are some of the questions on the lips of most Nigerians.
Nigerians must be saved the puzzle of guessing about the ownership of the funds.  It is not just enough to tell us that they discovered billions in some apartments or premises in Ikoyi, Victoria Island or some other places, EFCC should go the extra mile and ensure that the names of those behind these hidden funds are made public.  The truth is that everyone is getting tired of these unending entertainment going on in the country.  Rather, everyone is anxiously waiting to know the true owners of the discovered funds.
What is your take on the perceived targeting of PDP members in the anti-corruption war?
There is no gainsaying that some members of our great party, PDP, are being targeted in the on-going anti-corruption war. We are greatly concerned about  this sad development going on in the country, and continue to insist that those agencies that are in charge of the fight against corruption must operate in line with the laws and constitution of the nation. In fighting corruption emphasis must be placed on ensuring that the due process of the law is followed, and certainly not in victimizing political opponents or perceived enemies of the government.  What we want is fair treatment to everyone irrespective of political inclinations.
A situation where political opponents are hounded  into detentions, tried in the media, even before proper investigations start, is totally unacceptable. Certainly that is not the proper way of fighting corruption in the country.
How would you rate the whistleblower’s policy of the government?
I would want to commend the government for the introduction of the whistleblower policy, and most importantly for the successes so far recorded by the policy. At least we have seen, and continue to see, also on weekly basis lots of discoveries of huge sums of cash, both in local currencies been hidden by unknown individuals and personalities, in people’s homes and business premises.   It has not been too long that this policy was introduced in the nation, but you can see the amazing results recorded so far.
What is your reaction to the proposed introduction of modular refinery system in the Niger Delta region?
The proposed policy by the federal government to set up modular refineries in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is a welcome development. If fully implemented by the government it will certainly bring to a terminal end many years of illegal oil bunkering and youths restiveness in the area. The policy also has the potentials to address issues of unemployment, militancy, cultism and other violent criminal activities in the region.  But, like I said for this policy to be successful, the government must firstly, undertake a comprehensive census of operators of illegal petroleum refineries in the area to ensure that it has an accurate data of operators of such illegal refineries, as well as their locations.
Secondly, government has to ensure that these illegal operators are part of the new arrangement, and that  they are carried along as stakeholders in the project. The truth is that if they are carried along and made to be part of the modular refineries policy arrangement of the government , certainly all the issues of crude oil theft and illegal oil refining will stop, and become a thing of the past. Again, government must ensure that these operators of illegal refineries are re-orientated and trained to understand the concept and operations of modular refineries. While the government might be considering foreign technologies for the modular refineries, my advice is that it should consider some of our local technologies with the capability of providing such solutions.
What is your take on the economic difficulties in the country?
It is unfortunate that many Nigerians are passing through hard times and find it increasingly difficult to fend for their families. If you go round the country you don’t need to be informed about the level of hardship and the many challenges our citizens are passing through. We have never had it this bad.
The costs of food items and other essential commodities are in the upwards swing and simply out of the reach of the ordinary citizens. People are really suffering in the land, and I would like to urge the federal government to as a matter of urgency come up with palliative measures to bring down the costs of living and cushion the effect of the current difficulties in the country.
Another face of difficulties in the country is the astronomical rise in the number of unemployed persons in the county. The growing number of unemployed persons in the country is simply too alarming and a big problem for the nation if not properly managed . Though this presents a critical picture for the future of the nation and its socio-economic development, there is no doubt that the situation demands an urgent attention of the governments at all levels.  There is the need for the government to urgently come  up with effective policies and initiatives aimed at boosting employment opportunities in order to positively engage the huge number  of job seekers.
What is your take on the growing insecurity in the country?
It is quite unfortunate that for some years now the nation has been grappling with  the challenges of insecurity of various shapes ranging from  terrorist attacks, armed robberies, kidnappings, herdsmen attacks, youth restiveness  and other types of violent crimes. The situation is further made difficult to curb due to the rising army of unemployed persons and the challenges of an under-equipped police force.   The truth is that with a huge population of unemployed persons , it might be difficult to tame the increasing rise in  armed robberies and other  violent crimes across the land.
Again, if you  look at the sophistication of crimes  today in the country, you will no doubt agree with me that there is the urgent need for the federal  government to provide the police with adequate funding to enable them procure sophisticated weapons and equipment to frontally combat  criminal activities  across the country. I know that the government is doing its best in the fight against insecurity, but I strongly believe that the government has to do more in order to safeguard lives and property in Nigeria.
What are your views on the frequent executive – legislators faceoff ?
The three arms of the government work together, and act  as checks and balances to one another for the smooth running of the government. There is no doubt that there may be disagreements between the executive and legislative from time to time, but certainly these disagreements does not mean that they are fighting or quarrelling. One thing you must know is that in democracy there is bound to be agreements and disagreements. That is the beauty of our democracy.
What is your take on the crises facing PDP?
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is like a big family, and you will agree with me that even in big families people are bound to have quarrel. But, the most important thing is that sooner after such quarrels they still have to come together in reconciliation to forge ahead, and even be more united than before.  Though some PDP members are in court today,  I am assuring you that sooner or later, the matter will be settled and PDP will be back again in full force. Certainly I have no doubt in my mind that our great party, PDP will come out of this crises to become more stronger and united as the biggest political party in Nigeria and Africa. I am calling all our members to continue to keep faith with the party. Our party is repositioning itself to retake power in 2019.  (The Sun)

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Nigeria’s Economy Shrinks Again, MAN LCCI Expect Recovery In Third Quarter

 EmefieleKemiUdom
                                               Emefiele, Udoma and Adeosun

Ifeanyi Onuba and Oyetunji Abioye

The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released the Gross Domestic Product report for the first quarter of this year, which showed that the economy contracted by 0.52 percent in the period.

With the negative growth rate of -0.52 percent, the Nigerian economy is still in recession.

The rate of growth for the first quarter of 2017 is, however, an improvement over the revised -1.73 per cent GDP growth rate as of December 2016.

Related: Nigeria To Exit Recession Soon, Says World Bank |The Republican News

This is the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction that the economy would record since the first quarter of 2016.

The NBS report read in part, “In the first quarter of 2017, the nation’s GDP contracted by 0.52 percent (year-on-year) in real terms, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction since Q1 2016.

“This is higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 and higher by 1.21 percentage points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter.”

However, the rate of growth, which is an improvement over the previous quarter, appears to be in line with the expectations of the Federal Government that the country will come out of recession by June this year.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had on April 29 said that Nigeria was gradually moving out of recession.

Related: Nigeria To Exit Recession Soon, Says World Bank |The Republican News

He said going by a recent statement by the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the country would exit recession by the end of June.

The NBS in the report stated that during the first quarter, the aggregate GDP stood at N26.02tn in nominal terms, representing an increase of 17.06 percent over the N22.23tn recorded in the first quarter of 2016.

During the period under review, it explained that the average oil production was 1.83 million barrels per day, which was 70,000 barrels higher than the figure for the fourth quarter of 2016.

It added that real growth of the oil sector slowed by 11.64 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, representing a decline of 4.81 percent relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of last year.

Quarter-on-quarter, the oil sector, according to the report, grew by 14.86 percent in the first three months of this year.

As a share of the economy, the NBS report stated that the oil sector contributed 8.90 per cent of the total real GDP in the first quarter, down from the 10.02 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2016.

For the non-oil sector, the bureau said growth was largely driven by the activities in the agriculture sector, particularly crop production, Information and Communication Technology, manufacturing, transportation, and other services.

It said, “The non-oil sector grew by 0.72 percent in real terms during the reference quarter. This was 1.05 percent higher than the rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 0.90 percent higher than the corresponding quarter of 2016.

“In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 91.10 percent to the nation’s GDP, higher from the share recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (89.98 percent), but lower than the share recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 (93.25 percent).”

Related: Economic Recession: Nigeria Economy May Grow By 1% In 2017, Says World Bank |The Republican News

The report put the real growth rate of the agricultural sector in the first quarter of 2017 at 3.39 per cent year-on-year, representing an increase of 0.30 percentage points from the corresponding period of 2016.

For the manufacturing sector, the report stated that the real GDP growth in the sector in the first quarter of this year was 1.36 percent year-on-year, higher than the same quarter of 2016 by 8.36 percentage points.

This, it added, was the first positive growth rate recorded in the sector for over a year.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry have expressed optimism that following the 0.52 per cent contraction of the GDP in the first quarter, the economy should come out of recession in the second or third quarter.

“The 0.52 GDP contraction recorded in the first quarter is an improvement over the 1.73 contractions the economy recorded in December 2016.  We are already on the verge of moving from the negative territory to positive territory. In December, it was -1.73 percent; in March, it was -0.52; it is an improvement,” the Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, said.

“Some of the positive developments we witnessed in Q1 such as better foreign exchange policy, improvement in ease of doing business and creation of FX window will be reflected in the Q2 result that will be released later this year,” he added.

The President, MAN, Mr Frank Jacobs, said he was not surprised by the negative GDP growth number because the country was not going to come out of recession overnight.

Jacobs said, “In as much as we are trying to get out of recession, it is not going to happen overnight. We expect that from Q3, we will begin to come out of recession. The current figure only shows that we are not yet out of the woods yet. We have to see how to manage production and seek to cope with some of the challenges facing manufacturers.”

Remarking on the outcome of Tuesday’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the MAN president said, “There is a need for a special window for manufacturers to access credit at five per cent interest rate. This will help them to play their role of creating jobs and also earn revenue in order to pay taxes.”     (Punchng.com)

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Incompetent FG’s Ideas Led Nigeria Into Economic Recession, Says Soludo

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                   Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo

Tony Okafor, Awka

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma  Soludo, on Thursday said  poor ideas by the Federal Government’s  policy makers caused the economic downturn in the country.

He added that fixing the nation’s economy  was not rocket science.

Soludo’s position was contained in a paper he delivered at the 2017 International Conference of the Department of Business Administration of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

The theme of the conference was “Managing a recessed economy; options for Nigeria.”

Soludo noted that Nigeria slipped into recession barely a year after the President Muhammadu Buhari administration took over power, stressing that the inability of the country’s policy makers to rise to the challenge plunged the economy into crisis.

He said the recession was avoidable had proactive steps been taken.

He said, “Poor ideas transcended over superior ideas, and we went into recession which was slightly avoidable. That is why academics must be alive to their responsibility of nudging us to reality; the reason I commend you for this international conference.

“Success and failure are all in the mind and only those who persist get to their destination.

“The recession Nigeria went into was largely avoidable and for things to change for the better, Nigeria cannot afford intellectual isolation because there is a need for exchange of ideas among intellectuals from various fields to put things right.

“Though economic crisis started in 2007 when most countries were witnessing recession, the Nigerian economy was growing because of the power of ideas of the people in charge. Instead of sustaining the growth, we drove the economy into this recession.

“For example, between 2010 and 2014, oil price was above $100 per barrel but we were unable to accumulate foreign reserve. When I took over as the CBN Governor, foreign reserve was about $10bn and we kept growing it on an annual basis as a deliberate policy such that it was over $45bn by the time I left.

“In 2010, I warned that if oil price went down to below $40 per barrel, most states would not be able to meet their obligations and that was exactly what happened. So, the problem was that we were not saving and we were even borrowing to implement recurrent expenditures.

“We were borrowing for consumption and for capital projects with the result that all the money we spent was borrowed at a time.

“When the oil price slumped, some people in government even felt that it was not going to last and continued their spending spree. Some also felt that the exchange rate could be fixed and some of us warned that doing so would result to high inflation.

“And when the problem manifested, a fire-fighting approach was adopted by the CBN which decided to give bailout to states. Because of these responses, the economy witnessed a shock and we thought we could reinvent economic theory and principle as a unique Nigerian approach.”

The former CBN boss, however, expressed optimism that the recently launched economic recovery plan of the Buhari government could lead to recovery, especially as there was a mounting pressure on government to perform because election was approaching.

He advised that the number of items in the exclusive list should be reduced in favour of states.

“We do not have to be running to Abuja for everything and that was why I was surprised when some people canvassed that local governments should be going to Abuja to take their allocations directly,” he said.

According to him, the first step should be to revert the control of minerals to the states, which he said should pay taxes to the Federal Government.  (Punchng.com)

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National Assembly Forwards 2017 Budget To Osinbajo Today |The Republican News

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Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

John Ameh and Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The 2017 budget may get to the table of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday (today), findings by The PUNCH indicated on Tuesday.

It was learnt that the Legal Department of the National Assembly had already concluded work on cross-checking the details of the N7.441tn appropriation bill and was set to route it to the Presidency on Wednesday morning.

Sources at the National Assembly Liaison Office of the Presidency informed The PUNCH that the document had been initially scheduled to be transmitted to prudency on Tuesday.

One of the sources stated, “We have been in communication with the National Assembly. They told us to expect the budget today, but up till now, it hasn’t come.

“We now hear it will be tomorrow (today).”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Mr. Abdulrahman Kawu, confirmed that the office was expecting the budget today.

“It is Wednesday (today); at least, that was what I was told. So, we wait and see,” he added.

Kawu spoke amid speculation that the Presidency had already raised concerns over certain changes in the budget, though he declined to speak on the areas of possible disagreement when The PUNCH sought his reactions.

One of our correspondents gathered that issues were allegedly raised on some sub-heads in the budget of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

“Some changes were made. They cut funds from some allocations by the executive and they added to other sub-heads.

“This will affect the implementation of the projects on these sub-heads,” one official told The PUNCH.

In the budget, power, works and housing ministry has a combined highest sectoral allocation of N586.534bn, up from the N529bn initially budgeted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The National Assembly had passed a total of N7.441tn as the national budget on Thursday, last week, jacking it up by over N143bn above Buhari’s original N7.298tn.

The President had forwarded his estimates to the National Assembly on December 14, 2016.

The additional N143bn was spread across key federal road projects, the presidential amnesty programme and the National Assembly, among other sub-heads.

For instance, federal roads got additional N25bn.

Both the amnesty programme and the National Assembly got additional N10bn.

This shot up the budget of the National Assembly to N125bn from the N115bn it got in 2016, while the amnesty programme’s budget rose to N75bn from the N65bn proposed by Buhari.

The reconstruction of the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport gulped N5.8bn; additional personnel cost of 18 agencies, N5.1bn; subscription to Shelter Afrique, N3.6bn; National Identity Management Commission, N5bn; and backlog of corps members’ allowances, N13bn.

The total recurrent expenditure was raised to N2.987tn from the initial presidential vote of N2.979tn; and the capital vote from N2.058tn to N2.177tn.

Also, the Senate, on Tuesday, specifically confirmed that the 2017 Appropriation Bill, passed by the National Assembly, would be transmitted to the Presidency for assent latest by Wednesday.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, on Tuesday, said the National Assembly delayed transmission of the bill as the document was still undergoing legislative processes after it was passed on Thursday.

The Senate’s spokesman, however, explained that there were more legislative processes on the bill before it could be transmitted to the Presidency.

Sabi-Abdullahi stated, “If you are familiar with our procedures, you will see that the budget always carries some signatures.

“So, the two chairmen (of Committee on Appropriations) of the two chambers have to do that. And when they do that, it will be transmitted to the Clerk to the National Assembly, who will make sure that he also puts in his administrative process to form the document to the Presidency.

“The fact that we have approved it does not amount to the fact that it will move straight to the Presidency. Whichever way it goes, those who are responsible for processing this document have been doing that ever since we passed it. Any moment from now, either today or at most, tomorrow, they should be able to transmit it to the Presidency.”

Sabi-Abdullahi recalled that the Senate held a second session on Thursday to fast-track the final processes and transmission of the budget.  (Punchng.com)

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Senate Suspends Approval Of $5.8bn Loan For Exclusion Of SE From National Rail Project

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Nigerian senate

…Over exclusion of South East, North East in rail project

• Summons transport minister, Amaechi

From FRED ITUA, Abuja

The $5.851billion China Exim Bank loan request submitted to the Senate on April 26, 2017, may be stalled, following protests by South East senators, over the alleged exclusion of their zone from the nationwide railway modernisation project.

According to a motion tagged, “Outright Omission of Eastern Corridor Rail Line in the request for approval of Federal Government 2016-2015 External Borrowing (Rolling Plan)”, sponsored by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and other members of the South-East Caucus, the exclusion was “inexplicable.”

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, assured the protesting lawmakers that the leadership of the Senate had already taken a position on the non-inclusion of some parts of the country in the project.

He said the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, headed by Shehu Sani, were already working on the loan request.

He added that if the interest of every section of the country was not accommodated, the Senate would insist on an “all inclusive project.

“We must give information at the leadership level and we are taking up this matter with the Executive. That was what led to the amendment of the letter that came from the President. The first letter did not specify that of the South-East and North-East axis must also be standard gauge.

“We insisted at the leadership level that every part of the country must benefit and that there must be a standard gauge and that has been done.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said any injustice done to any part of the country, should be frowned at by the Senate.

He said the Federal Government was rehabilitating rail lines throughout the country, but excluded the South-East geopolitical zone.

He claimed that railway projects already awarded by the Federal Government was deliberately abandoned, through non-release of funds to contractors.

He maintained that promises made by government that the region would be accommodated in future projects were doubtful, saying that no section of the country should be excluded in projects.

Gbenga Ashafa, chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, countered the South-East senators, arguing that government was a continuum and that the region would be accommodated in future projects.

Abaribe, had while moving the motion, noted: “On April 26, 2017, the Federal Government laid before the National Assembly a request seeking an approval for a loan of $5,851billion from China Exim Bank to execute the modernization of Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Calabar rail segment.

“The Senate observes with dismay that the above sections of the rail line that the loan was being sought for covers only a section of the country i.e. the western corridor or sections.

“The Eastern section of the rail segment, which has a link between the South Eastern to North Eastern parts of the rail line is completely excluded from the request.

“The loan being a Federal Government borrowing would be paid for by all sections of the country. Therefore, every section of the country should be taken into consideration.”

Abaribe urged the Senate to suspend consideration of the loan request until the correction of the apparent oversight of the eastern parts of the country was effected.

Upon the Senate President’s explanation, Abaribe withdrew the prayers. Instead, the Senate resolved to summon the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to appear and explain the reasons for the exclusion of the Eastern Corridor of Nigeria’s Rail Lines from the proposed loan from China Exim bank.   (The Sun)

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Official Exchange Rate Is Redundant, Soludo Tells CBN |The Republican News

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Former Central Bank Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo

Oyetunji Abioye

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo, says the apex bank’s official exchange rate of N306 to the dollar has become redundant, describing it as an instrument for rent seekers and arbitrary allocation of scarce foreign exchange in the country.

As a result, he said the CBN must achieve a unified market-determined exchange rate by eliminating the current multiple exchange rates as a matter of urgency.

Soludo spoke in a keynote address at the eight annual Pan-Africa Investor Conference organised by Renaissance Capital, an international investment bank, in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said, “The general price level has already adjusted because that’s the primary price indicator in the market. The prices that people hear, i.e. the exchange rate that people talk about is the parallel market rate. Anybody who says it is irrelevant is not discussing Nigeria as an economy. The official one is like the time when you had the price control regime.

“Even those who had accessed forex at the official rate, when they are fixing their prices, they are fixing their prices in comparison with the imported ones, which are taking signals from the parallel market rate. So the general price level has adjusted there. The official exchange rate is redundant; it is just for rent and for arbitrary allocations.”

Soludo also advised the CBN to dump its current import substitution policy and adopt an export-oriented industrial strategy if it hoped to take Nigeria out of its present economic woes.

According to him, the country is implementing import substitution is a crude way and it must remove the ban placed on importers of some 41 items from accessing dollars at the official interbank foreign exchange window.

The former CBN governor said, “Every regime comes to ban and the next unbans it. That is not the way to protect an economy. If you have a market-determined exchange rate regime and you do not want certain items, you put tariffs. The exchange rate plus the tariffs will make, for instance, the imported tomatoes uneconomical.

“That is where you deal with it on a sustainable basis. There is a need to think of a life beyond crude oil. We need not just import substitution; we need infrastructure and export-oriented industrialisation strategy. We cannot do that with this kind of crude inward look.”

According to Soludo, China has over one billion population and has become a successful country through export-oriented industrialisation, adding, “China was not doing import substitution.”

“That’s why they have built trillions of dollars in foreign reserves with weak currency that makes import into their country expensive and makes exporting very rewarding,” he added.

The former CBN governor said many companies that needed some of the 41 items had folded up and that thousands of jobs had been lost.

“Yet there is a better, sound, transparent and sustainable way of achieving what you intend to achieve. To create prosperity for all and lift millions out of the job market, we need industrialisation; we need to be exporting. We must fix the infrastructure,” he added.

Soludo also said that Nigeria’s public finance was broken because the country’s total expenditure was in excess of its total revenue.

He said, “In a regime where you have the total recurrent expenditure in excess of your total revenue, there is an issue. You know people talk about recurrent expenditure being 70 per cent of the budget; they are including the debt. As a percentage of your total revenue, you recurrent expenditure is a hundred and something per cent, which means as it is today, part of our borrowing is actually to finance recurrent expenditure.” (Punchng.com)

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Utomi Blames Buhari’s Government For Economic Recession

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Prof. Pat Utomi

Tony Okafor, Awka

Prof. Pat Utomi on Wednesday blamed the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the economic downturn in the country.

He described those attributing the recession to the fall in crude oil price as bad managers.

He said the Buhari government should have foreseen and pre-empted the situation if it had been futuristic in budget planning and management of resources.

Utomi, who blamed the current situation in the country on lack of planning and foresight, said the preparation of a good national budget could have saved the situation.

Utomi spoke as the guest lecturer at the Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah Budget Roundtable organised by the Business School of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

His lecture was titled: ‘Budget Processes in Nigeria: Challenges and Implications for National Development’.

Utomi said a good budget should contain what the people would want and envisage the implications of future economic changes and challenges.

He said “Our major problem is that we lack planning and budget discipline. In beginning of a budgeting process, it must be matched with where the people are going; but beyond revenue and expenditure, the budget has to do with discipline and execution.

“Those blaming the fall in oil price are just bad managers. That was not the cause of this recession.”

Lamenting the prevailing backwardness in the country, Utomi stated that the sad situation was basically thrown up by the events of 1966 when a gang of military boys hijacked the leadership of the country.

He said the same characters had remained in power since then in different guises.

In his keynote address, the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Mr. Chris Azubuogu, listed factors hindering the actualisation of the national budget to include poor funding, lopsided budgeting, deficit budgeting and high domestic debt profile, which he noted was in trillions of naira.

The Director of the business school, Prof. Austin Nonyelu, said the conference was necessitated by the challenges bedevilling the country’s budget process at all levels of governance, which he noted had impacted negatively on service delivery.           (Punchng.com)

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