2020 National Budget Roundtable: Experts urge Government to embrace Budget Surplus

2020 National Budget Roundtable: Experts urge Government to embrace Budget Surplus

 

A budgeting system excessively focused on allocation of resources rather than revenue generation due to overdependency on supposed available oil wealth is doomed to fail with a non-performing budget.

This was the general consensus at the recent 2020 National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion in Covenant University, where many participants called for a budgeting system that should not only focus on ‘sharing the national cake’ but also on ‘ways for baking more national cakes’.

The event with the theme ‘The Art of Budgeting and Nigeria’s Debt Profile: Sectoral and Demographic Implication’ was organised by Covenant University’s Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research (CEPDeR).

The Keynote Speaker and Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, represented by the Technical Adviser in the office, Professor Olumide Ayodele, was of the view that the roundtable was very timely considering the current and potential effects of COVID-19 and dwindling oil prices on the 2020 appropriation law. He suggested that Nigeria's analysts needed to focus on Sub-National budgets in order to engender the required development required at the grassroots.

Professor Ayodele noted that one of the major challenges to the Federal Government budget financing was poor revenue performance which he attributed to several factors, including, lower than projected oil production due to theft, vandalism, deferred production, revenue collection inefficiency, poor remittances by government-owned enterprises, and high recurrent cost amongst others.

Revenue wise, the Keynote Speaker posited that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a direct impact on Value Added Tax revenue, domestic income, foreign trade, oil prices, and spikes in risk aversion in the global financial market.

In his welcome remark, the Chairman, Covenant University’s Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research (CEPDeR), Professor Evans Osabuohien, said that the roundtable was aimed at making an impact on the economic wellbeing of Nigeria and the African continent.

He hinted that an emerging technical partnership with the African Union’s African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), a specialised agency for capacity development programmes across 48 African countries and eight regional economic communities, noting that the partnership would entail the dissemination of the policy briefs to other African countries.

Declaring the 2020 national budget roundtable and panel session open, the Vice Chancellor, Professor AAA. Atayero, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Akan William, said the continued dependence on oil as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy had been a cause for concern for several decades, with the unfortunate inability of successive governments to muster the needed political will to effect the necessary and comprehensive changes to tackle the entrenched structural problems with the country's economy.

He noted that with the recent increase in the nation’s debt profile under the present government, the looming danger associated with an increasing debt burden called for a roundtable to discuss the implications of various issues around the public debt profile, so as to explore the possibilities of restructuring the nation’s debt within a sustainable level that would have minimal negative impacts on socio-economic growth and development.

The occasion availed the University Management, Keynote Speaker and facilitators the opportunity to witness the commissioning and dedication of equipment bought with a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), Germany, to help in driving the CEPDeR’s research work and other activities. Some of the equipment commissioned at the CEPDeR secretariat included MacBook Laptops, iMac Desktops, Printers, Camera, Voice Recorders, and Public Address Systems.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akan Williams, with speakers and organisers of the 2020 National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion
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Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akan Williams, with speakers and organisers of the 2020 National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion

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