Buhari’s economic policies on winning path, says Mohammed

Lai Mohammed PHOTO: NAN

• APC, PDP differ on World Bank’s rating of Nigeria
• ‘2018 budget may not meet Jan-Dec implementation target ’
• Presidency insists fiscal plan has been ready before mid-Oct

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration are already yielding winning results.

The minister, in a chat with journalists in Lagos at the weekend, hinged his statement on the recent World Bank’s ranking, which stated that Nigeria’s economy had moved up 24 places to 145 in its Doing Business’ ratings.

The World Bank’s report, which the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) released over the weekend, also recognised Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world for the first time.

However, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said the development was nothing to boast about, as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration could not continue to approbate and reprobate at the same time.

Mohammed said the well-thought-out policies of the Buhari’s government, encapsulated in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), launched on April 5, 2017, are working and the results are beginning to show.

The minister, who also gave assurance of a better result in the months ahead, stressed that as part of the administration’s efforts to improve Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio, which currently sits at a paltry six per cent – one of the lowest in the world, “the administration has launched the Nigerian Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at providing a time-bound opportunity for tax-payers to regularise their tax status relating to previous tax periods and pay any tax due.

The PEBEC Secretary, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, said there had been significant progress in the task of improving Nigeria’s business environment in the past 12 months, which include improvement in Nigeria’s standing in the World Bank ease of going business ranking.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the PDP, Dayo Adeyeye, in his reaction to the ranking, said: “When we were in government and Nigeria was declared as the largest economy, it was the same APC people that raised issue by condemning us. The downturn of the nation’s economy in the last two and a half years was caused by the wrong policies of the same party. If it is now claiming that the ranking has improved, what is in that to boast of?

Meanwhile, as President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to present the 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly tomorrow, indications have emerged that again for the second time running, the Federal Government may be failing in its promise to reset the yearly fiscal plans to the traditional January to December budget cycle.

The lawmakers are already expressing doubt that the passage of the estimates before December 31 this year is possible.

Some members of the legislature, who spoke with The Guardian at the weekend, said nobody is going to stampede them into rushing the passage, with some wondering how they would pass the 2018 spending plan when the executive have not implemented up to 20 per cent of this year’s budget.

But a source at the Presidency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “The 2018 budget has been concluded even before mid-October this year.”



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