FG plans to accompany annual budgets with finance bills

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Determined to meet future revenue projections in the country, the Federal Government plans to henceforth accompany Annual Budgets with Finance Bills.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed who disclosed this at the Investing & Capital Markets Conference organized by Business Day on Thursday in Abuja said, “we plan that going forward, the annual budget will always be accompanied by finance bills to enable the realization of revenue projections”.
In a key note address delivered at the conference with the theme, “Market Recovery, Innovation & Regulation in Nigeria”, Ahmed stated that future Finance Bills will therefore also provide additional opportunities to improve the fiscal policy and regulatory environment.
The Minister said, “we plan that going forward, the annual budget will always be accompanied by finance bills to enable the realization of revenue projections.
” Future Finance Bills will therefore also provide us with additional opportunities to incrementally improve the fiscal policy and regulatory/legal environment in order to further strengthen our domestic capital market, and ultimately ensure sustained and inclusive growth and development.
She noted that in particular social inclusion has been prioritized through the $500bn Social Investment Programme, which has been implemented in the last four annual budgets and will be continued under the 2020 budget.
According to her, “additionally, we continue prioritizing human capital investments, with spending in the health and education sectors being optimized at both the federal and subnational levels.
“We are also increasing investments in critical infrastructure, in part through the implementation of crucial initiatives such as the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme and the Family Homes Fund.
On the management of both Domestic & Global Fiscal Risks, the minister said, “we are implementing a debt management strategy aimed at achieving an optimal debt balance, through the increase of oil and non-oil revenues;  the continued use of diversified borrowing instruments including Sukuk and Green Bonds, a continued focus on concessional loans and lower cost external debt. Such reforms will ensure that our borrowing remains fiscally sustainable”.
Regarding Integrating Annual Budgets & Medium-Term Fiscal Strategies into rolling Medium & Long-term National Plans, Ahmed said ongoing discussions between the Executive and the National Assembly on the 2020 Budget Proposal, “we are well on our way to ensuring a stable January to December budget cycle”.
She also stated that another important move by her ministry step will be to transition the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to a successive long-term Vision 2040 Plan.
“To this end, I am currently working with the Honourable Minister of State Budget and National Planning to prepare a Medium-Term Economic Growth Acceleration Plan for 2021-2024 as a successor to the ERGP”.
The Minister who reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment towards building lasting, endurable, and a more innovative capital market, said she Iooked forward to robust, deliberations “and to your continued support in achieving inclusive and sustainable economic growth and prosperity”.
In his welce address, the Publisher of Business Day, Mr Frank Aigbogun said the main objective of the conference was to address what he termed the multifaceted challenges facing the nation’s capital market.
According to him, the capital market ” still remains one of the best channels for long term investment, but with the current state of affairs, this will be a hard sale for any player in that sector “.
Speakers and discussants at the one-day conference include, the Acting Director General of Securities & Exchange Commission, Ms Mary Uduk; Managing Director of AMCON, Mr Ahmed Kuru; CEO of Nigeria Stock Exchange, Mr Oscar Onyema; Acting DG of PENCOM, Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar and Acting DG of NAICOM, Mr Sunday Thomas.

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