2020 Budget: Ex-NACCIMA boss faults FG’s decision to borrow

Ex-NACCIMA boss, John Isemede.

Dr John Isemede on Saturday urged the Federal Government to block revenue leakages in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to boost local revenue generation.

Isemede, a former Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) said this in Lagos.

Isemede, who frowned at the Federal Government’s decision to borrow to fund the 2020 budget said that MDAs should be given revenue targets to block leakages.

“There are many leakages in the system in the MDAs, parastatals and others. What we need to do is to block all these leakages and give the MDAs targets.

“It is not a crime to borrow but the manner at which we are borrowing is what is giving us concern.

“Its good to borrow but local capacity, local production and revenue generation within the country should be the solution.

“If we have to borrow to fund budget and infrastructure in 2020, we are going to borrow for 2021 and so on.

“Borrowing is good but revenue generation internally is better.

“Other countries are wealthy not because the population is more than that of Nigeria or not because the landmass is bigger than Nigeria.

“But they are borrowing and not just borrowing like that, they are borrowing to add value to what they have.

“If we now borrow money to run the 2020 budget and other things, it means we are going to borrow for 2021 budget.

“If you borrow today, you are going to pay back tomorrow and if you are not producing and you are not exporting, there’s no way you can pay back that money.

“We should take full control of the opportunities given to us by God, Nigeria is at the centre of the world and we are at the centre of Africa,’’ Isemede said.

He urged the government to work with the new Economic Management Council on ways to boost local revenue generation, develop export and production.

Isemede noted that production and export could be another solution to help Nigeria to generate the necessary revenue.

He said that the country needed favourable business environment to attract investors.

According to him, Ambassadors must have targets as marketing managers to sell made in Nigeria goods outside the shores of the country as part of measures to avoid continued borrowing.

“We should invest heavily in infrastructure, invest heavily in manpower development and look at other ways of shoring up our revenues, that is the only way we can generate jobs as well as wealth creation,” he said.

Isemede said that Nigeria needed to invest heavily in its export drive through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to ensure that goods produced were sellable instead of depending on oil.

“Borrowing is good but we should know what we are borrowing for, let’s invest heavily in our export drive.

“It’s not the gimmick of import on a single window or border closure, let us have general overhaul of the production sector, pump more money into export development.

“We should look at the revenue, Nigeria should not be confused with the size of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We don’t use GDP to run the economy, we don’t use GDP to pay salaries, what we use is revenue generation,’’ Isemede stated.

He also called for the strengthening of the agricultural value chain to create the needed jobs and revenue.

“The president promised that he will generate 10 million jobs in the next few years but the truth of the matter is that we can only generate that from agriculture through backward integration and import substitution.

“We are borrowing because we are not developing value chain, the farmers are supposed to be working with technical colleges, the processors are supposed to be working with universities.

“While exporters are supposed to be working with professionals and exporters. That chain is not there,’’ Isemede said.