By Chinyere Joel Nwokeoma
An economist, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, on Monday advised Nigerians not to expect much from the nation’s economy in the second quarter following continue delayed in the passage of 2018 budget.
Tella, a Professor of Economics from Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye in Ogun, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to him, the economy will not witness meaningful growth unless the budget is passed on time to complement the monetary policy to be introduced by the newly inaugurated Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
“It takes time for implemented policies to have effect on the economy. Therefore, we should not expect much improvement in output of the capital market and the economy at large,” Tella said.
He said that the capital market was largely bearish in the first quarter of the year, while the economy remained sluggish in spite of positive indices.
“Both are symptomatic of an unsettled economy where government’s macroeconomic policy is unpredictable.
“This was so because both fiscal and monetary policies have not been put in place due to the perilous activities of the legislature.
“We can recall that up till now, the 2018 budget has not been passed.
“So, fiscal policy and fiscal actions were put on hold throughout the period.
“The Central Bank’s Monetary Policy membership committee was not properly constituted to meet and fashion out monetary policy due to failure of the legislature to approve new members submitted for consideration by the Executive.
“Where you have such situation, the policy environment cannot be conducive for business activities to thrive,” Tella said.
NAN reports that the National Assembly had on March 27 postponed the approval of 2018 until May.
This is contrary to the expectations that the 2018 budget estimates of N8.612 trillion would be passed by April.
The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Rep Mustapha Dawaki, had on Tuesday explained that if the budget was not passed by April 24 then, the N2.06 trillion 2017 capital budget would run until May 31.
Dawaki made this known at the 2018 National Budget Hearing in Abuja, which was jointly organised by the Senate and House Committees on Appropriation.
NAN recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had, in his presentation of the 2018 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on Nov.7, 2017, called for speedy passage of the budget.
The President said that this would allow for implementation of the January to December budget cycle.
However, the two chambers of the National Assembly had attributed the delay in the budget passage to refusal of heads of Ministries, Departments and parastatal Agencies (MDAs) to come forward and defend their respective budget proposals. (NAN)