President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Chief Bassey Edem

Anna Okon

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture has expressed worry over the significant rise in the recurrent expenditure in the proposed 2017 budget, which was recently presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The National President, NACCIMA, Chief Bassey Edem, stated this during a press briefing held to review the state of the economy on Thursday.

While observing that the proposed budget paid close attention to capital expenditure in the area of rapid infrastructural development, Bassey, however, noted that such a significant increase in recurrent expenditure might signal an increase in the nominal wage of government workers.

He said, “It may signal an increase in the number of government workers against the backdrop of the elimination of ghost workers from the government payroll. Unless this is seen to translate to increased employment opportunities.

“We note with satisfaction that the President’s speech admits that government has been less than optimal and intends to tackle this by issuing executive orders to ensure the facilitation and speeding up of government procurements and approvals, while making stability and greater coherence between monetary, fiscal and trade policies a key objective.”

According to the NACCIMA president, the private sector is encouraged by the fact that the Presidency has realised the need to focus on the ease-of-doing-business and had established the Presidential Enabling Business Council, chaired by the Vice President, with a mandate to make doing business in Nigeria easier and more attractive.

“We request that efforts be made to ensure the periodic review of the parameters of the ease of doing business, so as to ensure the required growth. We strongly believe that it is time to review the composition of the economic team to include representatives of the organised private sector in order to remain focused in getting the country out of the current recession,” Bassey added.