Expert calls for early passage of 2018 budget to sustain growth

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An Economist, Mr Johnson Chukwu on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to sustain the current economic growth by early preparation and approval of 2018 budget.

Chukwu, Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Ltd, Lagos, gave the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The economist said that early passage of the budget would check the mistakes of the past and accelerate the allocation of funds to the various sectors of the economy.

“Quick passage of next year’s budget is paramount, especially in areas such as modern transportation.

“Further dredging, especially in the Niger Delta areas will allow for larger vessels to berth and boost businesses in those areas.

“Concentrating all businesses in few locations will not accelerate economic growth,” he said.

Chukwu also urged the Federal Government to check the huge sums borrowed by some tiers of government and ensure the borrowed sums were deployed to appropriate sectors.

“There is the need for entrepreneurs to have access to cheaper funds to boost the current economic growth.

“The private sector is the catalyst of an emerging economy and being enabled to have access to funds will change the narrative.

“It is no secret that the private sector is one of the largest employers of labour because it creates wealth in any economy,” he said.

Chukwu said that when such a regulatory framework was put in place, the government would now be free to invest in other aspects of the economy that would spur growth.

NAN recalls that Nigeria’s economy emerged from recession in the second quarter, expanding 0.55 per cent year-on-year, according to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Bureau said that Nigeria’s economy shrunk by 1.5 per cent in 2016 for its first annual contraction in 25 years.

NBS, however, said that the recovery failed to drive a strong rebound in overall economic growth.

The economy was battered by lower revenues from oil – its dominant export resulting to a shortage of hard currency.

The situation was worsened when crude production slumped in 2016 following attacks on oil facilities by militants.

It recovered in the second quarter to 1.84 million barrels per day after the government engaged in negotiations to address communities’ grievances in its crude-producing heartlands in the Niger Delta. (NAN)

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