It is now stale news that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2010 N10.59 trillion budget into law – an increase of N260 billion from N10.33 trillion submitted to the National Assembly on October 8, 2019.
Like a spruce sprouting freshly, the country returns to the January-to-December financial plan. This is a break in the late tradition of budget presentation making this budget the fastest to be passed since 1999 as it was treated within 60 days.
Returning to normal fiscal year will assist for proper planning and execution of the annual budget. It is hoped that the party concerns will guide against being caught up in the web of budget delay in the years to come.
But to the ordinary man on the street, he is concerned with how he can unmask the cobwebs of poverty enmeshed all around him. He is focused on getting a decent job to eke out a living.
His wish is to see the economy boom, he would like to have a roof over his head, he is happy if government can create the conditions required for peace, he hopes that the little sapling would not become an oak before it becomes a reality.
The question on everyone’s mind is: what do we expect? The ambition of the federal government to increase the non-oil revenue is quite commendable and should be vigorously pursued.
The coming of the Finance Act which amends the existing taxes such as Companies Income Tax Act, 2004; Value Added Tax, 2007; Customs and Excise Tariff Consolidation Act, 2004; Personal Income Tax Act, 2007; Capital Gains Tax Act, 2007; Stamp Duties Act, 2007; and the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, 2004 should make the tax system dynamic and responsive to changes in the economy.
Similarly, an expansion of the scope of goods exempted from VAT to now include brown and white bread, cereals, fish, flour, natural water, table water, among others should stimulate growth.
So also is the plan to exclude small and medium businesses with less than N25 Million annual turnover from VAT registration. This step would help the small and medium businesses to grow. There was once vision 2000; it came and nothing happened. Then vision 2010 came and nothing happened. Now, 2020 is here and the reality is that we are still far from Eldorado.
Today, we are talking about vision 2063 when we should be able to transform our nation from epileptic uprising to gigantic nation, from quack implementation to modern methods of doing things to ensure sustainable development.
It is said that the wish is father to the thought; the thought of seeing steady development and sustainable growth. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a step. Indiscipline in fiscal policy and budget non-implementation has been the reasons for snail-speed growth.
Now that we have returned to the era of normal fiscal year, the ball is in now in the court of the executive to ensure full implementation for the good of all citizens so that in not too distant time, we can have a shade envelope us in a golden glow.
Olusanya Anjorin, Lagos