Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria Thursday, December 7, 2017 - Page 2

2 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017 Vox pop Should National Assembly have retained the $45 oil benchmark for 2018 budget? I •Odilim Enwegbara (An Abuja-based development economist) have been an advocate of a $50 per barrel as benchmark because we need a lot of money. We can take it up to $50 because there is no sign that the price of oil will go anywhere below $50 in 2018. I want the National Assembly to also increase the exchange rate. We must not allow this N305 being proposed by the executive; it shouldn’t be anything below N350 to $1 dollar. N305 is very low remembering that in 2018, as a country, we are going into election mode. A lot of money will be pumped into the system. Most of the money politicians are hiding will be pumped into the system which means that there is going to be a lot of pressure on the United States dollar. We may have the dollar going for N380-N450. Why then give it out for N305? What do we have at the moment? It is around N350 to N357 to a dollar in the parallel or black market as it were. L ooking at the events of the past years and the great crash in oil price at the world market a few years ago, one would have had no option but to support the executive for using $45 as its benchmark for the 2018 budget. The benchmark has become a tool in the hands of government during budget presentations. It is normal to wave off the unexpected effect of the crash in the price of oil in the international market and the resultant effect of such a crash and distortion it caused in the past. A wise man they say saves for the rainy day. Thus, if the National Assembly had adopted the $45 as 2018 budget benchmark, we would definitely have had more money in the Excess Crude Account and our External Reserves will increase. This will boost our image and provide more money for the foreign exchange market among other things. This will definitely increase the value of naira. Windfalls do come, but most African countries routinely mismanage them. Past regimes in Nigeria and the National Assembly have shown us how financial indiscipline and recklessness could thrive during windfalls. A case study is what happened during President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. Apart from the windfall being looted, •Tee Thompson (Managing Director, African Trade Business Centre) I t is good that the National Assembly decided to increase the benchmark to $47 per barrel because I strongly believe that oil prices would increase. In fact, it would not have been out of place to have a $55 per barrel as the benchmark. Nigeria has been a pacesetter in budget projections. When you look at 2015, Nigeria was projected to have posted a better Gross Domestic Product until we blew it. When compared with some other economies, Nigeria has oftentimes made budgets with low projections. I think I •Yemi Oshifodunrin (Ogun State chairman, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises) the country’s reserves were depleted and shared among the executive and the parliament. While I will advise the National Assembly to stick to the $45 benchmark for the 2018 budget, I will also advise the executive to properly manage any accrual in the ECA for the development of this great country. Let us remember a Yoruba adage which says, “One does not use the ten fingers to eat at the same time.” I t will be recalled that during the consideration of the 2017 budget proposals, the legislators had jerked up the oil price benchmark proposed by the executive from $42.5 per barrel to $44.5 per barrel, an action which took a great deal of time to get the consent of the executive. The arguments in favour of an increase appear strong and persuasive and on this score, the lawmakers will most likely get the support of the state governors for obvious reason: an increase will translate to more •Uche Uwaleke (Associate Professor of money for constituency projects and Finance and Head of Banking and Finance increase allocations to states and local government areas. Department, Nasarawa State University) think we should look at the bigger picture, and this picture is that we are heading for a precarious situation. Everybody has signalled the death sentence for the oil industry. I don’t know why Nigeria should still be fixated on having an oil benchmark. Where is Nigeria heading for? We all know there is no future for )]Ё͕ٔȁ䁥х)ɽ́ɅՍɔЁ)չх)́ȁ́$ɹݔ)ЁЁЀȁȁɕݔ)ѡ́́ɕٕՔ)́ɕ͕ٔ]ЁЁѡ)ፕ́Ѽٕхɽ́)ɅՍɔ)=)ɅՍɔ))ͽ)ѥ́ɔѽ͔Q͔ɔѡ)ѡ́ݔѼก]ɔɕ͕ѱ)ЁѡɽѠɅєĸԁȁЁ)ͼȁɥɬݥ)ɽ܁ѡՑЁЁɕՍѡ)ͥ锁ѡɽݥɕեɕѼ)ѡи)IͥѡݽɱéЁɝ)ѕ̰́ѕ͕مѥٔ)ɥȁɕȁѡչe(ܴ䁹ѥɔ̸)MݥѠɕЁѼѡɥѡ)ɽ͕ԁȁɕ͡ձٔ)ɕх́ѡͅ她̰q%Ё́ѕ)Ѽ͕مѥٔɥ͕ѡ)ͥѡѽѥѥ)ͅѕt)9ɥѥ́ѡչѼ)ѕȁݡٕȁѡɔ́ɕ͔ѡ)ɥѡѕɹѥɭи)QɬձѼ)մԸ]Ёݔ͡ձ)Ʌ䁙ȁ́ѡЁ9ɥ͡ձх)مхѡ͔ٕɕͽɍ)ݡݔѥٔЁ͔ЁѼ)ѕȁѡЁȁ])ͼ͔ȁյхѼɕє)չѥ́ݥѡͥѡ)͕ѽȁѡɽ՝ٕͥ她ѡ)9ɥ́ѡ͵ѕЁ)ѡݽɱ=ȁɔͼمѥٔ)Q䁉ɥեѼѡɽ́)ͥѡ́)Ёѡɕ́ѡ͕ѽȸ$)ٔݥѠѥѡɬձ)ɕ͕Ѽմԁȁɕ)́ѡɥՑɕ̸͕)]͡ձͼɔ܁ɭ́)ȁɽՍ̸$ɽ䁉ٔѡЀ)ɬݥ䁕ٕͥɥ)ɥ)ѡ́ѥѥ)9ɥ́Ё͕́ѡɕ)M䰁́Ёɕѕ́Ѽѡȁչɥ̰)Ё=A Ѽɕ͔)ɭЁ͡ɔ ͥɥȁձ)ɍյх̰ݔձЁɽѡ̸)$ͼٔѡЁݥѠѡɕɵ)ѡٔѼѡ)9ɥ9ѥAɽմ Ʌѥ)ɔɅɕЁѡ͍ɝ)չѥ̰ѡ́䁝Ёѕȸ)ɽ́ѥAɽՍи)Q́ͅѡЁݔɔѼ)ݕȁѡչ䰁ѡɅє)@ɽѠݥɥ͔ѼЀȁи)Qٕ́Ёѡ)ͽє́ЁɽչԸQ́́)Ѐԁ啅́݅)QٕɹЁЁѡɕɔ)ѼЁѡȁɔѼ)ȁѕɹѥٔͽɍ́ɕͥ)ɕٕՔЁѡ́хݔٔѼٕ(ȁЁȁɕ٥٥ѡ)͕ѽȁɔѡ٥х)̸+ ͤMаɕѥɕ)MȁAѹȰɹЁeչ) MՍ́9ݽԁMՕݽ她%夁=Չ=)խ