The Federal Government has said that efforts are on top gear to develop an emergency economic recovery bill and also prioritize capital spending in the 2017 budget as strategies to address the current economic recession.
The proposed bill will be sent to the National Assembly for passage. These were revealed in a communique issued at the end of the cabinet retreat on the budget held in Abuja last Thursday organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning with the theme “Building Inter-Ministerial Synergy for Effective Planning and Budgeting in Nigeria”.
It said the key resolutions reached at the retreat are: endorsement of the programme of action for dealing with the recession and the current effort of government in developing an Economic Emergency Recovery Bill to address the situation as well as the plan to bridge the funding gap; and the need to prioritise capital spending in the 2017 budget in the area of infrastructure development, agriculture and social intervention; the retreat participants agreed on 2-3 quick-win areas to be implemented before the end of 2016 and six priority/programme project areas for the 2017 Budget.
These quick wins include immediate implementation of the social intervention programmes (School Feeding, N-Power, STEM, CCT, etc); effective communication of government projects, programmes and policies to the citizens to go a long way in mobilizing support for government to succeed.
Others are: local debt repayment, including debt owed states and contractors to stimulate spending; priority project/programme in the areas of infrastructure, including power, rail and public works as well as agriculture & agro processing; mining and solid minerals; social intervention schemes among others.
The communique however noted that the Ministry of Budget and National Planning is to further review and fine-tune the proposal priority areas for incorporation into the 2017 Budget.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma had told the participants that the government was working hard to resolve the militant disruptions in the Niger Delta, while a fiscal stimulus strategy was being developed involving, amongst other things, a plan to generate and inject large amount of funds, principally in foreign currency, estimated at $10 – $15 billion into the economy.
This he stated will be done through Asset Sales, Advance Payment for License renewals, infrastructure concessioning, use of recovered funds etc, to bridge the funding gap.
He also indicated that government was also planning to introduce measures for fast-tracking procedures so as to speed up the processes for getting these funds into the economy.
According to him, some of measures will be achieved by Presidential Orders and Directives.