Local businesses, especially indigenous manufacturers need full protection from the government to grow their businesses legitimately, and contribute towards national development. This requires giving adequate attention to business operators that visibly contribute to reducing unemployment; business entities that attract steady inflow of foreign exchange through exports of finished goods (including rendering of professional services), and ultimately impact positively on the general economic outlook of the country. Such economic goals are achievable, once the essential functions expected from the government are substantially performed by the relevant agencies that are experts in the respective terrains; and that they are also dedicated to promoting business activities within the economy. These services from government agencies should be rendered with ease from front desks strategically positioned to record effective and efficient results at all times. Invariably, with a commitment devoid of traces of corrupt elements, governments apply policy tools that enable the private sector to sustain very competitive operations in the global marketplace, and thrive economically in their business engagements.
Governments all over the world have the primary responsibility to perform a basic function that manifests “good governance” in every administrative duty of “protection” they carry out. Ultimately, lives and property are protected through the implementation of all known forms of security (national security, financial security, energy security, social security, food security, among others) once the basic functions are performed. The targeted goals for good governance are realizable in every economy once the government implements the right policies by applying the right economic tools that relate to tax, and creating an enabling environment in the economy.
For instance, in Nigeria, the 2023 fiscal measures of the federal government, supplementary protection measures for the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), is a known strategy that fosters export promotion for Made-in-Nigeria goods within the sub-region (it promotes trade among the sixteen member countries by eliminating tariffs on their trade). It brings to light the need for the full protection of the Customs Union from outside competition by making imported goods (from outside the ECOWAS member countries) more expensive. With the current hyperinflation in Nigeria, the welfare of households needs to benefit from the expenditure gains through lowered prices of locally manufactured products, to assuage losses in households’ purchasing power that results through lower income of workers that cannot match the growing inflation on all goods and services. This positive impact on households invariably rubs off on the nation’s economy (by increasing productivity/GDP, looking at rising national economic efficiency) through increased consumer expenditure on locally manufactured goods.
The other attractive 2023 fiscal policy measures that took effect from May 1, 2023 are; the reduced import duty rates on certain manufacturing items available to verifiable manufacturers. The introduction of Green taxes on single use plastics and certain categories of vehicles. Also, the import prohibition list (Trade), applicable only to certain goods originating from non-ECOWAS member states. Enabling the environment for locally established businesses to thrive, by withstanding healthy global competitiveness in the world markets, is primarily what a government owes her investors in terms of business protection and promotion, for a progressive economy.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) is one prominent business association in the private sector that critically reminds the government (at all times, as a critical stakeholder in the task of building the economy), to prudently capture policies in the nation’s annual budget that should protect local manufacturers from going out of business. The position of MAN in budget preparation annually, is not far from the federal government’s Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), which came into force on July 30, 2007. Actually, the monitoring aspect of the nation’s budget every year by MAN includes efficient implementation of the budget which indirectly bothers on the prudent management of the nation’s resources, to ensure long term macroeconomic stability of the national economy (for accountability and transparency). The simple reason is that, if MAN fails to exercise this oversight function on budget (as stakeholders), their members would in no long time be thrown out of business.
However, due to high level corrupt practices going on in the country, there hasn’t been clear empirical data (from both revenue and expenditure) to show a successful implementation of fiscal policy (the way the government manages the aspects of spending and taxation, in this regard) in the past years. It has always been skewed reports to a large extent, based on highly volatile crude oil prices. The current minister of finance (and coordinating the economy) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, need to corporately manage the nation’s monetary policies as it relates to money supply and interest rates, in such a way that the business investments within the economy receive a boost and thrive, for the overall benefits of the national economy.
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