Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, highlighted the Federal Government’s strategic priority areas at the second Lagos Business School Breakfast Club event held in Abuja on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
The LBS Abuja Breakfast Club afforded members of the business, government and diplomatic community an avenue to interact. In her address, Ahmed provided insights on the Federal Government’s three broad themes, which include Accelerating Economic & Governance Reforms; Enhanced Investments in Physical Infrastructure, Human Capital Development to spur Job Creation & Economic Growth and Optimize Investments in Physical Security & Food Security to drive Inclusive Socio-economic Development. These three themes cover the government’s plans for macroeconomic stability, security, education, health, housing, infrastructure and power amongst others.
The minister explained that in line with the FGN’s overarching strategic priorities, the ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning would be keenly focused on Enhancing Revenue Generation, Collection & Monitoring, Accelerating Fiscal Consolidation by Optimizing Priority Capital & Recurrent Expenditure and Optimizing Management of both Domestic & Global Fiscal Risks. Other areas of the ministries keen focus are Increased Coordination of Fiscal, Macroeconomic, Monetary & Trade Policies and finally Integrating Annual Budgets & Medium-Term Fiscal Strategies into rolling Medium & Long-term National Plan.
Ahmed provided details of the 2020 Budget Preparations; the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan – transition to successive Long-term Vision 2040 Plan and learning from the lessons of the recent oil price boom & bust. She also emphasized on the tax laws and other fiscal reform agenda including enhancing the ease of doing business through proposed tax reforms for SMEs, and the insurance sub-sector, while explaining the plans to align Nigeria’s tax laws with international tax developments. The minister explained that social inclusion is prioritized through the N500b Social Investment Programme which would be continued. She highlighted the increased investment in critical infrastructure which will be achieved through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund; the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, which is an incentive for private sector investment in roads and bridges; and the Family Homes Ltd, which would be deploying N20bn investment in 500,000 homes & create 1.5m jobs
The event continued with an interactive session where attendees interrogated some of the information provided as it pertains to their various business sectors and industries. This session also had the business community engage in detailed discussions on other areas of possible collaborations and partnerships to fund infrastructure with the possibilities of tax breaks.
According to the host of the breakfast club and Lagos Business School, Professor of legal, social and political environment of business, Olawale Ajai, the breakfast club’s objective to create an avenue for closer interactions between the private and public sector policymakers and foster discussions is being met. “We are hopeful that the discussion at these quarterly meetings will influence policies on issues affecting the business community, the economy, and ultimately the larger Nigerian populace.”
Lagos Business School Breakfast Club has held monthly in Lagos for 15 years with significant value to business leaders. The Abuja leg of the Breakfast Club meeting will be held quarterly with its next edition scheduled for December 2019.