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Budget 2024: Trade minister requests N14.165bn, earmarks N1bn for overseas trip

The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, on Tuesday, proposed a total spending of N14. 165 billion for its 2024 budgetary expenditure during its budget defence session at the National Assembly.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Investments Doris Uzoka-Anite presented a proposed budget of 14, 165, 978, 651.99 billion naira (fourteen billion one hundred and sixty five million ,nine hundred and seventy eight thousand six hundred and fifty one naira ninety-nine kobo) at the joint committee meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives committee on Industry, Trade and Investment chaired by Senator Sadiq Umar (Trade and Investment) , Senator Francis Fadahunsi (Industry) and Hon. Sa’ad Wada Taura (Industry).

In her presentation the Minister gave a breakdown of the proposed 14.165 billion spending which indicated that 5.126 billion naira (N5,126,511, 506.97) will be spent on personal costs, 905.127 billion naira (N905,127, 174.02) will be spent on overhead expenses while capital would gulp the sum of 8.134 billion naira ( N8, 134,339,971.00).

On the 2023 budget achievement as learnt by the Sun, Doris in her presentation the appropriated sum of 3.344 billion naira was released 100 percent to the ministry to offset its Personnel cost.

Out for the approved sum of 812. 5 million naira only 541. 6 million naira was issued to the Ministry for its Overhead Cost while the Ministry received only 311.2 million naira was released to the Ministry for its capital expenditure out of the approved sum of 2.866 billion naira. Summarily, out of the total sum of 7.023 billion naira Appropriated for the Ministry in 2023 only 4. 197 billion was released.

On the revenue side the Ministry projects to rake in the sum of 2.500 billion naira in 2024 , just as it surpassed its 2023 revenue which was initially projected to be 1.938 billion naira but later recorded 2.102 billion naira which the Honourable Minister confirmed has been deposited to the consolidated revenue fund of the Federal Government. The Minister however sought the approval of the Senate for the Ministry to retain 20 percent of the Revenue stressing that it would assist the ministry in running its affairs.

Doris told the legislators that the Ministry remains committed to achieving its vision of promoting economic growth, creating jobs and generating wealth as well as formulating and implementing policies and programmes that attract foreign direct investments, boost industrialisation, increase trade and exports as well as encourage the development of enterprises. She outlined her plans to boost the nation’s commercial sector;

“The Ministry is currently implementing strategic policies, plans and programmes targeted towards economic recovery and growth for employment generation and wealth creation for the generality of Nigerians. Some of these plans, programmes and policies are the: Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), the Trade Policy of Nigeria (2023-2027) and the Nigerian investment Policy (2023-2027).

In addition, Doris noted that the Ministry has continued to play a vital role in facilitating the Ease of Doing Business which has led to a substantial increase in investments in the local economy and enhanced the industrialisation efforts of the government.

She added that within the framework of the National Development Plan (NDP), the Ministry has vigorously pursued the following strategic objectives which are; Creation of an enabling environment for the Nigerian Industry, Trade and Investment sectors to enhance Ease of Doing Business; Implementation of Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to rapidly enhance industrial capacity and improve competitiveness within the Sector; Sustain development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Sector to achieve industrial development and growth; Proactive attraction of domestic and foreign investments; and Facilitation of enhanced trade and market access to stimulate investments and encourage patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products and services.

The revolutionary Consumer Credit Reforms that address gaps in the current consumer credit ecosystem was also mentioned by the Minister. Taking into consideration the hard economic times Doris said; “We know how hard things can be for our people and in more developed countries that burden is softened because people can buy things on credit.

Plans to license and certify Artisans in the country were also stated by the Minister including plans to invite foreign organisations to build their factories in the country so as to reduce reliance on imports. Doris also highlighted the Investment Promotion, rebranding campaign tagged “Make It In Nigeria” as part of the 2024 projects of the ministry.

Overseas Trip expenses

The Senate in their reaction however frowned at proposed expenditure earmarked for International Travel and Transportation which is put at almost a billion naira Sum of 93.981 million naira ( 93,981,986.78) for a trip to Geneva next year as indicated in item six of its 2024 overhead budget proposal.

Adams Oshiomhole, the senator representing Edo North, reacted to the allocation. Mr Oshiomhole, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, was not specific about the actual amount the minister proposed for traveling to Geneva.

He only mentioned that the trade, industry and investment minister is proposing to spend over N1 billion on a trip to Geneva.

During the defense, Mr Oshiomhole queried the justification behind the minister’s plan to spend over one billion naira on a trip to Geneva amidst economic hardship that has forced many Nigerians into poverty.

“I see that you intend to travel to Geneva next year and you have budgeted over one billion for that. We can’t keep going on with over-bloated teams on trips abroad. Use the experts we have in your offices in the country to save costs.

“Let us practice what we preach. We cannot talk about industrialisation and keep importing toothpicks and tyres. We must ensure that we have homegrown products,” he said.

Mr Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, advised Mrs Uzoka-Anite to harness the potentials of the trade and investment sector of Nigeria through foreign investors.

“What is our balance of trade, especially with China? Those countries importing things to Nigeria are expected to build factories in Nigeria. We have to take advantage of our population to grow our industries”.

“Madam, sit in your office and work for Nigerians. I have gone there twice. You are always in the BOI. If you preferred the BOI, you should have declined the president’s nomination to be a minister,” the senator said.

Responding, Mrs Nkiruka-Anite claimed that she doesn’t stay in her office because it is under renovation.

“I assure you that I can work from anywhere and give Nigerians results. My office is currently under renovation.

No record of trade balance in my office – Minister

The minister also said her ministry does not have a record of the country’s trade balance.

“Sir I regret to say that we seem to have no record of our balance of trade. Or at least it doesn’t exist in the ministry and that is why we initiated a new unit called the trade intelligence unit to ensure that such data is generated and stored.”

SourceSUN

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