**To Return Toll Gates
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Federal Government has revealed steps it hopes to take to salvage the country’s economy, which has been battling with recession for months.
Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who spoke at an event in Lagos, disclosed that the FG would focus on 10 points to help Nigeria out of the economic downturn.
Mrs Adeosun, who represented the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, at the annual dinner of the Lagos Business School, noted that the 10-point roadmap would address the major problems dragging the economy backward.
According to her, the Federal Government’s Fiscal Roadmap will tackle obstructions to growth that will drive productivity, generate jobs and broaden wealth creating opportunities to achieve inclusive growth.
She said further that much attention would be focused on infrastructure deficit to unlock productivity, improve business competitiveness and create employment.
“Government would actively partner with the private sector to achieve this by use of a number of new funding platforms. These include the Road Trust Fund, which will develop potentially ‘tollable’ roads, and the Family Homes Fund which is an ongoing PPP initiative for funding of affordable housing,” she said at the event.
She added that the tax system would be reviewed to ensure companies get tax relief for investment in roads on a collective basis, subject to approval by FIRS and the Ministry of Works.
According to the Minister, only two firms, Dangote and Lafarge have only been able to get such.
Mrs Adeosun listed the government’s 10-point roadmap as follows:
The fiscal roadmap is detailed in the attached 10-point plan:
Fiscal Roadmap 2017
Fiscal Policy Initiative
- Recognise inherited debt profile after a robust audit process:
- Introduce promissory note programme to finance verified liabilities
- Issue debt certificates to contractors, Ministries, Departments & Agencies (MDAs), and State Governments
- Improve cash flow of businesses
- Improve Banks’ Non-Performing Loans (NPLs)
- Free up Banks’ balance sheet for lending to private sector
- Improve government’s business interaction with the private sector
- Mobilise private capital to complement Government spending on infrastructure:
- Roads Trust Fund
- Family Homes Fund
- Extend infrastructure tax relief to a collective model to attract clusters of corporate entities
- Expand the provision of infrastructure
- Drive growth of non-oil sector.
- Drive economic growth
- Strengthen fiscal/monetary handshake:
- Replace administrative measures on list of 41-items with fiscal measures to reduce demand pressure in parallel market
- Encourage domestic food production through specific incentives e.g. accelerated depreciation on food manufacturing equipment and Zero (0%) duty on green houses
- Planned revitalisation of refineries
- Increase Diaspora remittances via participation in the buyer support scheme for the Family Homes Fund
- Reduce demand for US Dollars
- Increase supply of US Dollars
- Incentivise exports:
- Restructure the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) to a tax credit system
- Rationalise tariffs and waivers in key export sectors
- Encourage/incentivise non-oil exports
- Drive import substitution
- Encourage investment in specific sectors through fiscal incentives:
- Accelerated depreciation on equipment in strategic sectors e.g. food processing, mining and power
- Rationalise tariffs and waivers in priority sectors
- Drive investment in strategic sectors
- Continue expansion of fiscal space through revenue enhancement and cost consolidation:
- Customs Single Window (being implemented through a Private Public Partnership (PPP) scheme)
- Template for non-allowable expenses for government agencies.
- Overhead cost control by the Efficiency Unit
- Continuous risk based audit by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit
- Revenue enhancement
- Cost containment
- Improve fiscal discipline at Sub-National level:
- Extension of efficiency unit at Sub-National level
- Fast track municipal bond issues to deepen the bond market
- Conversion to International Public Sector Accounting Standards by all State Governments.
- Improved fiscal position at Sub-National level
- Enable and accelerate Recoveries process:
- Whistle-blower scheme
- Centralised database on recovered assets
- Asset tracing
- Professional management of recovered assets
- Increased efficiency of Recoveries process
- Increased budgetary funding availability from Recoveries
- Rebalance debt portfolio to extend maturity and optimise debt service cost:
- Rebalance public debt portfolio with increased external borrowing (60:40 target)
- Extend maturity profile of public debt portfolio
- Deploy long-term debt instruments including Infrastructure and Retail Bonds
- Maximise use of concessionary loans
- Rebalanced debt profile withimproved debt service to revenue ratio
- Catalyse Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) growth through specific measures to improve capacity and access to finance:
- Development Bank of Nigeria (US$1.3bn)
- Increase share of business awarded to MSMEs from Government contracts
- Tax harmonisation and tax incentives
- Accelerated depreciation
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