The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has described as timely, the presentation of the 2022 N16.9 trillion appropriation bill.
NACCIMA National President, Mr Ide Udeagbala, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.
President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2022 appropriation bill to the National Assembly on Thursday.
Udeagbala said the early presentation was in line with the trends of the recent years.
He added that it was reassuring that the National Assembly had promised to process the appropriation bill in a timely manner to sustain the January to December budget cycle.
Udeagbala noted that the private sector should be encouraged to tap into the opportunities in the budget.
“We, therefore, welcome the decision under the budget to further strengthen the frameworks for concessions and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and that capital projects that are good for PPP will be developed for private sector participation.
“We also welcome the decision to inject affirmative action into the budget through its gender component thus making it gender friendly.
“We see this as a historic decision,” he said.
Udeagbala, however, expressed concerns over the upward swing in the borrowing to finance the budget.
He stressed the need to watch the rising profile of the country’s debt.
“An increase in deficit to N6.26 trillion, which is to be funded by borrowing is worrisome.
“While it is an accepted fiscal option across the world for countries to resort to borrowing to finance short falls in their budgets, there must be caution in what component of the budget to be financed by the budget,” he said.
Udeagbala said a sustainable debt profile required that borrowed funds must be used for critical infrastructure projects that would enable payback of these loans.
“There are speculations that the borrowings have been encouraged by projections that the Nigerian economy will grow by 2.4 per cent in year 2022, well above earlier projected Gross Domestic Product growth of 1.8 per cent.
“It was also said that the decision to scale up borrowing is based on assurances of revenue from the prices of crude which now hover around 80 dollars, well above 57dollars backed by projected 1.88 million barrels per day.
“The association, however, wishes to draw attention to the boom and burst cycle of international crude oil prices and cannot be relied upon as firm and assured sources of revenue.
“Rather, there must be continued efforts to diversify the economy, improve significantly on non-oil revenue and deliver on upgrade of infrastructure and improvement in security situation.
“This is to enable increase in productive activities especially in the agric sector.
“This budget has been described as Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability” and we hope that its implementation will be a budget of inclusive economic growth in which no one will be left behind, especially the poor segment of our population,” he said.