The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has called for the introduction of a time frame in the presentation and passage of the yearly budget.
NECA made the proposition in a statement signed by Timothy Olawale, its Director General of NECA.
According to Olawale, the unnecessary delay in the passage of the budget is costing the country a lot, from infrastructural development to foreign investment.
He said: “The continuous delay in budget passage year on year is worrisome and continues to be a major source of concern for the private sector. The importance of quick passage of the budget cannot be over-emphasised as it plays a very critical role in economic development.
“If we truly want to get the country on the track of economic prosperity as soon as possible, we need to accord extreme importance to the early passage of the budget. There has to be a defined time frame, which should be religiously followed as seen in other countries.
"We also urge our lawmakers to give the 2019 budget the utmost importance it requires as budget passage should not suffer at the expense of politics.”
Olawale made references to Ghana, Ethiopia and Egypt who passed their 2019 budgets in November, July and December 2018, respectively.
He argued that the stability and predictability of the budgetary process of these countries could be one of the reasons they are becoming the new desired destination for foreign investments.
He also likened the budget process in Nigeria to a case of "two elephants fighting", with Nigeria and Nigerians always being the victim.
“For some years now, the process leading to the approval and passing of budget in Nigeria has always been a victim of the proverbial fighting of two elephants.
“A critical component of the budget such as the capital expenditure, which, to a large extent, plays a major role in economic development, suffers. Infrastructural reforms, which are meant to attract investments and improve the lives of the populace, are put on hold and business decisions, which could translate to expansion and employment generation, frustrated."