President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed new economic advisory council (EAC) that consists of renowned economists.
The list consists of former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof. Charles Soludo and a renowned economist and Chairman of Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, Mr. Bismark Rewane.
The Economic Advisory Committee also has a renowned economist of Lagos Business School and former member of the CBN Monetary Policy (MPC), Prof. Doyin Salami as Chairman and Dr Mohammed Sagagi as Vice-Chairman, among others.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina in a statement said the EAC would advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies.
The nation is currently facing numerous challenges and needed revival in job creation, deficient power supply, infrastructure deficit, Security and weak non-oil sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With the new EAC, they must hit the ground running and strategize on how to boost revenue generation in the Non-oil sector to support federal government in 2019 budget spending.
The dwindling global oil prices have been a threat to government spending in 2019 and the EAC must quickly address ways government can improve on its revenue outside the Oil & Gas sector that has remain major drivers in government spending over the years.
The global oil prices continued to drop over drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil field.
The team appointment by Buhari must come up with plans needed to address bottleneck in the non-oil sector and revenue drive through tax collection, among others.
Nigerian NewsDirect urged the EAC on the need to work with monetary authority to sustain the nation’s economy. They are expected to collaborate with the monetary authority on various interventions in the real sector of the economy. Continue work on how to promote economic growth employment and support the agricultural sector.
There also is need to collaborate with CBN and fiscal authorities to build fiscal buffers to avert macroeconomic downturn in the event of a further decline in oil prices to around $30 per barrel.
As key members of the EAC are advocate of increase in tax revenue generated by federal government, they must work on controversial Value Added Tax (VAT), variance in tax target and actual collections
Currently, small and medium scale enterprises, startups and the loss-making e-commerce sector, as well as Nigerians, are awaiting the government’s green light on the implementation of various tax policies.
At its 125th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting outcome, the CBN urged the fiscal authorities to expedite action on expanding the tax base of the economy to improve government revenue and stem the growth in public borrowing.
Nigeria is facing a huge fiscal challenge to meet up with infrastructural development as its population and debt level rise. Aside tackling fiscal challenges, Nigerian NewsDirect maintains that the EDC must put in place a mechanism that will address the nation’s debt and fine-tune possible sales of government assets to finance projects needed to kick-start economy’s total recovery from recession.
It will be recalled that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had also advised it to increase its revenue sources.
On tax, the EAC should address means on how government can increase tax without affecting outcry and the revenue generated are invested on social amenities infrastructures to ease the suffering of common Nigerians on the streets of Lagos, Abuja and across the federation.
Since they were appointed in 2019 amidst government plans to prepare 2020 budget, federal government needs to seek their input in cutting recurrent expenditure and improving on current expenditure.
The Nigerian government had promised to return the budget process on track between January to December every year. In the light of this, the National Assembly-led by President Buhari’s core team also expects the executive to submit the 2020 budget proposal this month.