Akabueze: IMF Advice Often Ignores Political Side of the Economy

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Eromosele Abiodun
The Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, has stated that the federal government has did not ignore the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as currently speculated, stressing that the government takes cognisance of the advice, but acts in the best interest of the country.

Akabueze, who stated this in a interview with ARISE Television, a THISDAY Newspaper sister broadcast network, stated that sometimes the advice that the IMF gives ignores the political side of the economy.
He said foreign investors remain interested in Nigeria, adding that the federal government frequently interacts with several investors.

Speaking on the late passage of the 2017 budget, he said the federal government was engaging with the National Assembly to ensure that in the near future the country can be returned to a fiscal period that begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 every year.

He added that Nigeria cannot continue with the current situation where every fiscal year is uncertain.
Akabueze added that what gives him joy about the 2017 budget was that capital expenditure that has been projected.

According to him, “The N2.3 trillion budgeted for infrastructure is the highest Nigeria has ever provided to spend on infrastructure. What is more is that we are really determined to spend the money in the critical sector of the economy.

“Most importantly, the federal government is looking at every sector of the economy to ensure growth. A lot is going on in the agricultural sector, same as the mining sector, manufacturing has turned the corner with the increase availability of foreign exchange.

“The restoration of peace in the North Eastern part of the country is beginning to contribute to the increase in local output. Our 2.1 per cent rate is conservative, and oil price is beginning to firm up.

“The rising oil price can only be positive on the budget on two fronts: one, it means that the contribution of the power sector will be higher and it also means increased foreign exchange to the economy. This will spur growth in foreign exchange dependent sectors of the economy.”

On what the government was doing in terms of taxation, he said it is looking at it, but stressed that people need to have income before they can be taxed.
While admitting that Nigeria has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratios in the world, he said the government would ensure that everyone pays its fair share of taxes.