By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Economic Expert, Professor Joseph Uche Uwaleke has commended the FederaI Government for the early presentation of the 2021 Budget Proposals to the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday submitted to a Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2021 Appropriation Bill of N13.08 trillion christened “Budget Of Economic Recovery and Resilience”.
Reacting to the development in a statement released in Abuja on Thursday, Uwaleke said he was commending the Executive Arm for submitting the budget proposal in good time because it “will allow the National Assembly sufficient period to consider and pass the appropriation Bill”.
According to him, the assumptions and budget parameters are realistic except for the Exchange rate of N379 to the dollar that may not hold due to the on-going process of unifying Exchange rates across all forex windows by the CBN consistent with the IMF prescription.
The Nigeria’s first professor of capital market said the real GDP growth rate projected at 3% is a little ambitious in view of the impact of COVID’19 on the economy expected to linger till next year, adding “this is why the recent Fitch report on Nigeria projects a GDP growth rate of 1.3% for the country in 2021”.
Uwaleke said, “I wish to note that the budget proposal seems to have set the right priorities with the bulk of capital spending going to Works and Housing, Power and Transport. For the first time in many years, the capital allocation to Education and Health are above that of defense.
“I must add however, that new borrowings of over N4 trillion to part finance a deficit of over N5 trillion is worrisome given the already huge amount of over N3 trillion allocated to debt servicing alone.
“COVID’19 notwithstanding, the deficit to GDP should have been kept within the 3% threshold stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
“I hope the National Assembly will consider any amendment within the budget envelope of N13.08 trillion and not end up jerking up the figure”.