Tackle dearth of infrastructure with 2018 budget- Manufacturer tells Buhari
.Says drop in inflation at variance with poverty ratio
.Calls for effective implementation of 2018 budget
By Udeme Clement & Faith Idem
As President Muhammadu Buhari passed N9.1trillion 2018 budget into law, manufacturers doing business in Nigeria are calling on the Federal Government to invest in capital projects and tackle dearth of infrastructure in the country, in order to stimulate economic activities for increase in productivity.
The Chief Executive Officer, Stellarchem Nigeria limited, Mr. Ikpong Umoh, also a stakeholder in the manufacturing sector, made similar assertion in interview with Financial Business.
According to him, lack of infrastructure is one of the major factors militating against the growth of industrial sector of the economy.
He said, “Just look at the direction our economy is going. The 2018 budget has just been passed into law when we have done half of the year already. So, we have to look at economic implications of the delay in passing the budget and the structural lag such delay would cause in the economy”.
He went on, “The reality is that Nigeria’s economy is in limbo, notwithstanding the fact that pronouncement by the government looks so bright on papers. The citizens are not doing well, as the standard of living continues to decline instead of improving. The manufacturing sector, which ought to be the engine room of the economy, is in comatose because local industries are not doing well. At present, local industries are closing shop. When people do not have disposable income, the result is low purchasing power because they cannot pay for goods and services”.
Responding to question on how the budget should be implemented, he explained, “The President has signed N9.1trillion 2018 budget into law. The next step should be to invest in capital projects and tackle dearth of infrastructure across the country. This is important because it is through capital projects that government can create jobs for the citizens, especially the youths”.
He continued, “The major challenge we usually face is that, the budget is often passed for formality, as the implementation is always a barrier. If government can focus on implementing the budget fully and monitors the implementation process to ensure the budget achieves its intended purpose, the economy would record tangible growth”.
On the economic benefits of inflation dropping to about 11.5 percent, he said, “It is true that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is tackling inflation, but what we have are official figures that do not reflect the economic realities on ground. For instance, the decline in inflation rate has not reflected in the cost of living. The cost of living is still very high. Also, why is it that inflation has dropped and poverty level is still very high in the country? It is clear that the drop in inflation rate is at variance with poverty ratio in the country. Infact, it is only in Nigeria you hear that the economy is improving, yet poverty rate is increasing and people are suffering”.