Forex restrictions didn’t work in the best interest of Nigeria – Udoma

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By Odunewu Segun

The Federal Government has admitted that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy restricting forex, especially in the first half of 2016 had adverse effect on the economy.

Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma, gave this indication at the stakeholders’ consultative forum on the 2017- 2019 medium term expenditure framework held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja.

According to the minister, the policy did not work in the best interest of the economy. He also listed oil production disruptions in the Niger Delta, low oil revenue, low power generation, fuel supply problems in the first quarter and insurgency, as activities that negatively affected the economy.

Udoma said inflation hit 16.5 percent in June; unemployment increased to 12.1 percent in March from 10.6 percent in December 2015 and created challenges for some state governments in paying salaries, in addition to the Federal Government giving bailout to states.

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The consultations for 2017 to 2019 medium term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy 2017 to 2019 is in keeping with the dictates of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the final draft is the material upon which those years’ budget would be based.

The Federal Government has projected a modest revenue of N7.4trillion as distributable revenues next year, but the exact amount for next year’s budget, Udo Udoma said, is expected to be ready before members of the National Assembly resume from their recess in September.

Non-oil revenue receipts for the next three years Udoma said, are expected to increase significantly due to a gradually recovering domestic economy; a projected increase in consumption and the government’s expected improvement in FIRS tax collection efforts, especially with respect to broadening and strengthening of the tax net.

In a bid to shore up the value of the naira, the apex bank had in June last year restricted the importers of 41 select items from accessing the official foreign exchange window.

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