• Urges more hard work

BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – The Minister of Finance. Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed says Nigerians must brace up to the reality that low income streams into the national coffers will adversely affect Federal Government’s implementation of the 2020 budget.

She however assured that these genuine concerns notwithstanding, government has “prioritized domestic revenue mobilization in order to effectively and efficiently implement the budget.”

Speaking at the 2020 budget breakdown in Abuja, Mrs Ahmed said efforts at addressing the worrying situation demand more hard work and are focused on continuous improvement of projected earnings from the non-oil sector currently pegged at 56 per cent.

She said given that only 44 per cent of projected revenue will come from oil-related sources to fund next year’s budget, government considers the Finance Bill, alongside the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI), of utmost importance in the “quest to significantly improve our revenue collection towards achieving our goal of revenue to GDP ratio of 15 per cent.”

The minister also said that despite obvious challenges facing the nation, “Macroeconomic stability has been largely achieved”, adding that going by domestic developments on the economic sphere, growth is projected at 2.93 per cent for year 2020.

Mrs Ahmed said the government will not relent in pursuing measures aimed at improving the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to achieve its target of about seven per cent going forward.

“We expect general improvement in the fundamentals of the economy as we pursue more diversified and inclusive growth over the medium-term, with reduction in the rate of unemployment”, she said.

Mrs Ahmed stated that in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision, the 2020 budget is expected to accelerate the pace of Nigeria’s economic recovery; promote economic diversification; enhance competitiveness; and ensure social inclusion for the citizenry.

According to her; “As Mr President stated in his budget speech, investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job creating sectors, incentivising private sector investment essential to complement the FGN’s development plans, policies and programmes remain the key focus in FY2020.”

In his remarks at the occasion, Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba said the Federal Government is focused on enhancing transparency and accountability in all its processes.

As part of measures to achieve this set objective, he said; “We shall extend our strict implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to capture the domiciliary accounts in our foreign missions as well as some accounts of Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs).” 

Prince Agba however called on citizen’s participation to enrich the budget process, adding; “As the incoming Government co-chair of the Open Government Partnership process in Nigeria, it is my hope that all stakeholders will join hands with us to deepen the ideals of Open Government in Nigeria.”

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