1 August 2016
The Federal Government is targeting to reduce the value of its annual imports from N9.85 trillion in 2016 to N8.79 trillion by 2019.
This is part of the proposal the Federal Government plans to make in the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework to be presented to the National Assembly in October.
Document on the Framework obtained in Abuja on Monday shows a targeted decrease of about N1.05 trillion in import bill from 2016 to 2019.
Nigeria currently spends trillions of Naira annually on the importation of essentials and non-essentials like processed meat, poultry, tomatoes, toothpicks and clothing, among others, leading to the depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves.
Statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that rice, wheat, fish and sugar account for the highest amount of food imports into the country.
About N3.4 trillion is being spent annually on importing the food items.
However, the document shows that the Federal Government is projecting that the level of importation into the country would rise slightly to N9.9 trillion in 2017 due to slow economic recovery.
However, after the recovery, it is projected that the country would begin to see a significant reduction in the level of importation from N9.9 trillion in 2017 to N9.34 trillion.
Accordingly, it is also projected that there will be a reduction in the level of importation to N8.79 trillion in 2018 and 2019 fiscal periods.
The Strategy Paper shows that the government is determined to reduce the level of import by further diversifying the economy and focus on agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.
It also stated that the government would focus on other areas where the country had comparative advantage.
“The fiscal strategy for 2017 to 2019 builds on the framework of the 2016-2020 Medium Term Development Plan and is designed to reflate the economy out of recession to a sustainable and inclusive growth path.
“Government will support rapid development of Small and Medium Enterprises through increased funding and focus on value chain that will generate wealth and improve sufficiency,” the document stated.
The document also shows that the Federal Government is determined to increase exports of locally-manufactured goods and services in the next three years.