The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the Federal Government to put drastic economic measures in place, in order to help the country cushion the effect of falling crude oil prices. The chamber suggested further scrutiny in the way public funds are spent.
In a statement by its President, Alhaji Remi Bello, the LCCI commended the Federal Government for the fiscal and monetary policy measures taken so far to stabilise the macroeconomic conditions and minimise dislocations. It however asked that some very important additional measures be taken.
The chamber noted that there are several budget heads that need serious scrutiny, such as, consolidated revenue fund charges, service wide votes and presidential amnesty programmes.
According to Bello, others are: capital supplementation, debt service, refreshments and meals, foodstuffs and catering, honorarium and sitting allowance, welfare packages, as well as repairs and maintenance.
“All these budget heads have substantial amounts voted for them in the budget annually. Some of the provisions do not reflect the desired prudence in the management of public funds. Huge savings will be made if a proper scrutiny of these budget heads is made,” the LCCI president offered.
As bad as the current economic situation may be for Nigeria, Bello noted that some segments of the economy will profit.
“It is expected that fuel imports cost will drop. This should reduce the pressure of fuel subsidy payment on government. It is also expected that cost of diesel imports would reduce, depending on the degree of impact of the exchange rate on the imports,” he said.
The federal government had recently announced some austerity measures to as economic buffer, as global oil prices continue to fall. The measures were however targeted at civil servants, whose overseas travels for trainings was cut, and wealthy Nigerians, who will have to pay more tax on yatchs, private jets and luxury goods. The common man may also feel the measures as increment of Value Added Tax (VAT) has been hinted. No measure has really been directed at reducing government spending.
Bello however stressed that proper scrutiny of these budget heads will put Nigeria in a more secure place economically.