The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said that top priority should be given to the effective implementation of the 2022 budget.
NACCIMA Director-General, Ayoola Olakanni, on Saturday said the effective implementation of the budget would drive the country’s economic growth and development.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Dec. 31 signed the N17.127 trillion appropriation bill into law.
Olukanni said that the real challenge of the budget was to see how it would positively impact the lives of the people and various sectors of the economy.
He noted that recent news from the modest performance in agric sector and prospects from mining sector were sources for some form of optimism in 2022.
Olukanni, however, doubted the budget’s capacity to meet its goal of investment in critical infrastructure to meet the infrastructure deficit and support the needs of the private sector.
“Significant part of the budget is rightly devoted to defence and improvement of internal and promotion of agriculture and food security.
“It is, however, obvious that the budget has been prepared with the 2023 election in mind.
“Already, the private sector has raised an alarm on the increasing difficulties of obtaining the required foreign exchange for raw materials for industry leading to consequential high cost of goods and inflationary trend.
“But perhaps more important is the issue of capacity development of the private sector which is expected to play a key role in the implementation of the budget.
“The economy may have recorded some modest growth overall but it still an economy struggling, especially given the deep crises of infrastructure.
“We must ensure that the budget makes significant impact on the energy sector if its impact is to be meaningful and be a budget of growth and sustainability,” he said.
Olakanni also called for synergy in the budget’s implementation with supportive funding such as the National Collateral Registry for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
He also called for closer attention to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector due to the key role in recent years and positive impacts on all sectors of the economy.
Olakanni noted that the potential of the sector had been demonstrated beyond all doubts particularly in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we continue to live with the pandemic, it is obvious that the ICT sector will be key to help maintain the growth trajectory of the economy and also help keep socio- economic activities, financial and economic activities and transactions on track.
“This is because there will be increasing reliance on e-commerce, and online business activities with people using their phones for business transactions and enterprises relying on the internet and other social media platforms to conduct business.
“It is, therefore, note worthy that budget 2022 has paid some attention to improvement and upgrading of Nigeria’s digital infrastructure as in 2022, we are certainly likely to see an increased demand for access to broadband service.
“NACCIMA has taken note of the promise by the Nigerian Communications Commission at every opportunity in recent time that it will continue to work to upgrade Nigeria’s digital infrastructure.
“In doing so, there is an urgent need to mainstream the private sector into its plan and especially in the context of budget 2022,” he said.