Monday, June 12, 2017 11:07 pm
The Federal Government has directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo gave the directive when he signed the 2017 appropriation bill into law on Monday.
He said the directive was to support the government’s policy on investment in critical infrastructure.
Osinbajo said: “beyond the huge provisions for investments in critical infrastructure, we have mandated government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods.
“This will open more opportunities for job creation with benefits for government in form of tax revenues.
“We are also working hard to improve our revenue collection efficiency so that we can achieve our revenue projections.
“While we are deploying technological tools to enhance collections, the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) will continue to contribute significantly to improving transparency and accountability over government revenues.’’
The acting president said the fight against corruption was yielding positive results and added “some of the recoveries are included in the 2017 budget which will be expended on identifiable capital projects.’’
He said that already, the administration was beginning to see some improvement in the quality of public expenditure.
“This is great motivation for us to remain resolute in our fight against corruption so that economic prosperity is enjoyed by all Nigerians.’’
Osinbajo reiterated that the implementation of the budget would bring added impetus to government’s on-going economic recovery programme.
He promised the intensification of the economic diversification efforts in a bid to expand opportunities for wealth creation and employment, thereby creating inclusive and sustainable growth.
“Our path to progress and abundance is clear.
“The tools are in place and the resilient, resourceful and hardworking Nigerian people are set to go.
“I have no doubt that by the grace of God, the bleakness of recession is about to witness the uplifting dawn of abundance,’’ he declared.
The acting president observed that the signing of the budget would trigger activities in the domestic economy and lead to job creation and more opportunities for employment, especially for the youth.
He acknowledged that government alone could not achieve the overarching goal of delivering inclusive growth and stressed that the 2017 budget provided a lot of opportunities for partnerships with the private sector.
Osinbajo said that to help the private sector thrive, the administration was determined to create an enabling business environment.
“We are already recording verifiable progress across several areas ranging from a new Visa-on-Arrival scheme to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies.
“The online business registration process has reduced time required for business registration from 10 days to two days.
“It is expected that the Executive Order on transparency and efficiency in the business environment will make it even easier for investors to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses,’’ he said.
Osinbajo also said that pursuant to the commitments to the Open Government Partnership, the administration recently issued an Executive Order that would promote budget transparency, accountability and efficiency.
“We want to make the federal budget work more efficiently for the people,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, while addressing the State House Correspondents hailed the budget and said implementation would start immediately.
He said that he saw it as a recovery budget and described the two trillion naira allocated to capital projects as worthwhile and the largest done by the Federal Government so far.
“If we can maintain the success of 2016 in the percentage of capital implementation, that is good for Nigeria.
“The second most important part which I think is key is the drive for Made-in-Nigeria to ensure that government agencies give first option to Nigerian companies.
“That will mean more jobs for our people and maybe save on foreign exchange; and then continue to drive on agriculture and diversification.’’
Saraki said the budget “is good and I think it is a good message out’’, adding that Nigerians would begin to experience its dividends.
He said the National Assembly would ensure that the government began implementation.
Saraki said that by the record in 2016 it was expected that implementation of the budget would be holistic.
He observed that there would be more challenges on the revenue and urged all to work together to block the leakages to ensure more revenue for the government.
Saraki said that the government had shown in 2016 that if the money was available it would really ensure high implementation percentage.
“So it is great news for Nigeria today,’’ he added.(NAN)