MAN hails N2.24tr allocation to capital expenditure in 2017 budget
The Manufacturers’Association of Nigeria (MAN) has appraised the 2017 budget, concluding that if implemented religiously, it could help the economy to recover.
Its President, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, praised the importance accorded capital expenditure with the value of N2.24 trillion which accounts for 30.7 per cent of the total budget.
According to him, MAN’s position is further reinforced by the emphasis placed on resource-based production and conscious patronage of made-in-Nigeria products by the government.
He said: “Since the budget intends to generate a total of N1.373 trillion from CIT, VAT, Customs & Excise Duties and Federal Account Fees for the period, MAN is of the opinion that tax rate should not be increased and no new tax should be introduced; rather the government should reduce the current CIT and widen the tax net.”
Besides, MAN is seeking the downward review of Company Income Tax (CIT) from 30 to 20 per cent to sustain investments and encourage new ones.
The group also wants President Muhammadu Buhari to widen the tax net to boost tax revenues.
Jacobs said though the manufacturers support the budget assumptions, they believe some critical steps should be taken for the attainment of the budget objectives.
He recommended increasing tax revenue by widening the tax net to capture more companies in the informal sector and in the formal sector.
He urged the government to ensure Public-Private Partnership (PPP), through the establishment of concession agreements under Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) in road and rail construction and maintenance, rather than expending the scarce resources on these projects alone.
It would be recalled that transportation alone had N262 billion allocated to it.
For a robust economy and growth in all sectors, Udemba canvassed timely release of capital expenditure funds to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), effective evaluation and monitoring of capital projects so that the nation could obtain value for its money.
The MAN chief also advised governments to, within the shortest possible time, fulfill its promise of resuscitating the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) scheme while ensuring the payment of the outstanding Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC) value.
“Given the current trend in the crude oil market, if sustained, the excess revenue should be specifically devoted for infrastructure development,” he added.
Responding to the budget assumption of 2.2 million barrel per day (bpd), he warned that the crude oil production benchmark could only be achieved if the government ensures the faithful implementation of the peaceprogramme put in place for the Niger Delta as a means of ending militancy.