Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
To prevent economic depression arising from the coronavirus effect, Federal Government, yesterday gave the indication of using N2.0 trillion, part of the over N10 trillion pension funds, to construct roads and houses.
Inaugurating the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) for the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES 26) in Abuja, Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade Agba, said that apart from utilising the pension funds, the government was taking other steps, including increasing non-oil revenue generation, to boost the economy.
“We are also taking steps to increase our non-oil revenue generation. The steps include, but not limited to, Value Added Tax (VAT) reforms in the Finance Act 2020 (maintaining the increase in VAT rate to 7.5 per cent); customs administration endowment. Tax incentives and exemptions; increase remittances and recovery of unremitted revenues from GOEs; increase revenues from cross-border business transactions; unlock value from Federal Government assets that are lying idle or under-utilised; incentivise the use of up to N2.0 trillion of pension funds for roads and housing developments,” the Minister said. Besides, the Federal Government has equally approached other foreign donors like World Bank, $2.5 billion; African Development Bank (AfDB), $0.5 billion; African Export-Import Bank, $0.5 billion and IsDB, $113 million.
“Additionally, we are also seeking for moratorium from official partners on bilateral and multilateral debt and arrangements to secure commercial debt relief” he said.
According to the Minister, the key mandates of the JPC is to undertake all preparatory arrangements for the successful hosting of the summit slated for October.
Agba told the committee that it would review the report of the 25th Economic Summit, make all arrangements for the successful hosting of the NES 26, including the programme of events and timelines for the implementation of the key activities of the summit, articulate the budgetary requirements and the sources of funds for hosting the summit.Other mandates are to propose the strategies for funding the activities of the JPC; prepare Green Book which is the Main Report for the NES 26, within two months of the completion of the summit; mobilise relevant public and private sector stakeholders for the summit, especially, at the federal, state and local government levels as well as the private sector and other key stakeholders and undertake any other work that may lead to the successful hosting of the summit.
The members of the committee are represented by the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning; Director, Macroeconomic Analysis Department, Mr David Adeosun; Managing Partner/CEO Agon Continental Limited, Mr Nnanna Ayim Ude and others.