President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ACCI, Mr. Tony Ejikeonye, said the faithful implementation of the 2016 budget would revive the nation’s bleak economy.
Ejinkeonye, who stated this in Abuja, noted that the 2016 budget proposal holds the key to the nation’s economic recovery, describing it as the way out of the woods. He also commended the federal government’s resolution to diversify the economy.
According to him, “there are still huge potentials for inclusive growth and sustainable development in the coming year notwithstanding the fact that about 50 percent revenue is expected from oil receipts to fund the N6.08 trillion budget together with the projected increase from internally generated revenue.”
“All we need is a clear policy and faithful implementation. Also, leaner government policy to cut off waste, significant reduction of recurrent expenditure and the 223 percent year-on-year growth in capital expenditure demonstrates the desire to make Nigeria more competitive and start the journey to deliver sustainable development.”
Ejinkeonye said President Muhammadu Buhari, in his budget presentation to the National Assembly, indicated that the focus of the budget would be on inclusive growth.
“I believe that the proposal for the reduction in tax rates for smaller businesses, as well as subsidised funding for priority sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals are steps in the right direction,” he said.
The president said “we, the private sector, signifies a clear understanding of what is needed in this regard as private sector and not civil service jobs have the potential of solving this quagmire that the country has presently found itself.’’
Ejinkeonye lauded the largest capital vote going to infrastructure and that of recurrent vote to education together with the initiative to absorb about 500,000 teachers.
He said there were indications that the spending would stimulate the economy and the employment of about 500,000 graduate teachers by states and local governments would go a long way in reducing unemployment.
He also commended the recently revised Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, MSMEDF, guidelines issued by the Development Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, support banks and other financial institutions.
Ejinkeonye said the revision of MSMEDF’s guidelines would help business start–ups under the fund to access funds at zero interest rate and accept collateral requirements for start-ups to include educational certificates.
Such certificates, according to him, include SSCE, National Diploma, ND, National Certificate of Education, NCE, National Business and Technical Education Board, NABTEB, Higher National Diploma, HND, university degree, NYSC certificates and a guarantor.
He said this would open a new vista for entrepreneurship, access to finance for businesses in general and start-ups in particular.
The president said this is revolutionary, as previously, only existing businesses can borrow from the fund through their banks.
Ejinkeonye noted that ACCI, as an advocate of a more inclusive funding and the face of the private sector, had earlier on engaged the CBN on the need to open up and extend this funding initiative to start-ups as funding for this category are almost non-existent.
The president said this was why ACCI in particular received this development with excitement and will strengthen its partnership with the CBN to ensure successful implementation and its initiative to create at least one million jobs in 2016.
He said the proposal to invest in training youths through the revival of our technical and vocational institutions, is to ensure that they are competent enough to seize the opportunities that will arise from this economic revival.


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