Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Delay in 2014 Budget Presentation Will Affect the Economy - Experts

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Budget 2013

Abuja and Lagos — Financial experts have said the delay in 2014 budget presentation to the National Assembly will have negative impact on the economy.

The experts, who spoke with Daily Trust in Lagos yesterday, also said delay in the submission would affect its passage and thereby affect spending.

Chief Executive Officer of Lambeth Trust & Investment Company Limited, Mr. David Adonri, said the delay would affect the mid-term economic plan which covers from next year till 2015.

He said 2014 budget is important for details of Federal Government's income and expenditure for the plan.

According to him, delayed implementation of the budget will slow down economic activities in the country.

"Any macroeconomic liquidity squeeze arising from its delay could adversely affect the financial markets, driving up interest rates and slowing down the equities market," Adonri said.

Also speaking with Daily Trust on phone, Chairman, Progressive Shareholder Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, said the delay will hinder government's transformation agenda.

Okezie said "before budget can be passed by National Assembly with this delay it will take like three to four months or more than that."

He said the delay would affect many projects embarked upon by the government.

He said government ministries, agencies and parastatals would not be able work as they would be starved of funds.

He said the 2013 budget did not impact on Nigeria people as " it largely benefitted only to those who are in power alone."

He said: "Take for instance, every Nigerian is crying about bad road, poor health service, poor education system and what we are hearing is trillion every year.

"A budget should not be annual ritual where trillions of naira will be approved and we won't see anything to point out."

On his part, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of APT Securities and Funds Limited, Mallam Kasimu Kurfi, said the delay in presenting the budget to National Assembly will lead to delay in approval and would surely affect major transactions in the country.

He said it will affect the implementation of capital project for in 2014.

"These will affect those companies that are directly involved in the execution of such projects to meet up with their projection, such as Julius Berger and most of the conglomerate companies because of the increase in cost of transportation of their good under poor roads."

It will also affect the performance of the economy because of the multiplier effect of not releasing money on time, he added.

But Senator Ahmad Muhammad Maccido, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, said that the delay in presentation of the 2014 budget is normal and that it won't affect its implementation next year.

He said: "Actually this is not a thing new to us. As a result of the sensitivity of the budget in itself there are bound to be politicking going on and a little bit of disagreements here and there."

Maccido added: "This year we happened to come close to situation which took us long to resolve. We have a Medium Term Expenditure Frame a Work as approved by the two chambers with different approvals in which the Senate approved a benchmark of $76.5 per barrel while the House of Representatives approved $79.

"And we have a law found which gives us the forum to sit down in a conference to ratify this figures and we were in that conference for two weeks, we have been dialoguing and finally we concluded that the House came down with a $1 difference from their earlier stand of $79 and we will be going up from the $76.5 to $77.5 and we took it to our various chambers for approvals or a harmonized single figure which will be taken to the executive."

After repeated postponements, the 2014 budget is now scheduled to be presented to the National Assembly today by Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

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