It is customary of Nigerians to naturally criticize government policies as soon as they are placed on the table. The Nigerian President recently presented the 2017 budget estimate to the national assembly. Most Nigerians are typically hopeless about the budget and don’t bother to take a look, while some just gloss over the budget without looking closely at how they can be part of the budget spenders.

At the end of 2015, I paid close attention to the budget and I can confidently say I was one of those that spent the monies earmarked by government in the 2016 budget. Before you begin to worry, I did not have to get involved in anything shady to share in the national cake, I only positioned myself to benefit from government spendings.

Now, lets take a closer look at the 2017 budget estimate, you might just be one of the few that will spend government money in 2017, it’s all about positioning. See the full budget presentation here. I have taken the pain to highlight the key areas of opportunity in the budget presentation as highlighted in the excerpts of the budget presentation below

9. By this simple principle, we will increasingly grow and process our own food, we will manufacture what we can and refine our own petroleum products. We will buy ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods. We will encourage garment manufacturing and Nigerian designers, tailors and fashion retailers. We will patronize local entrepreneurs. We will promote the manufacturing powerhouses in Aba, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Nnewi, Onitsha, and Ota. From light manufacturing to cement production and petrochemicals, our objective is to make Nigeria a new manufacturing hub. 

10. Today, the demand of the urban consumer has presented an opportunity for the rural producer. Across the country, our farmers, traders and transporters are seeing a shift in their fortunes. Nigerians who preferred imported products are now consuming made in Nigeria products. From Argungu in Kebbi to Abakalaki in Ebonyi, rice farmers and millers are seeing their products move. We must replicate such success in other staples like wheat, sugar, soya, tomato and dairy products. Already, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Organised Private Sector and a handful of Nigerian commercial banks, have embarked on an ambitious private sector-led N600 billion program to push us towards self-sufficiency in three years for these products. I hereby make a special appeal to all State Governors to make available land to potential farmers for the purpose of this program.

12. We must take advantage of current opportunities to export processed agricultural products and manufactured goods. Let it not be lost on anyone that the true drivers of our economic future will be the farmers, small and medium sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups. They are the engine of our imminent economic recovery. And their needs underpin the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

53. Given the emphasis placed on industrialization and supporting SMEs, a sum of N50 billion has been set aside as Federal Government’s contribution for the expansion of existing, as well as the development of new, Export Processing and Special Economic Zones. These will be developed in partnership with the private sector as we continue our efforts to promote and protect Nigerian businesses. Furthermore, as the benefits of agriculture and mining are starting to become visible, I have instructed that the Export Expansion Grant be revived in the form of tax credits to companies. This will further enhance the development of some agriculture and mining sector thereby bringing in more investments and creating more jobs. The sum of N20 billion has been voted for the revival of this program.

54. Our small- and medium-scale businesses continue to face difficulties in accessing longer term and more affordable credit. To address this situation, a sum of N15 billion has been provided for the recapitalization of the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture. In addition, the Development Bank of Nigeria will soon start operations with US$1.3 billion focused exclusively on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

55. Agriculture remains at the heart of our efforts to diversify the economy and the proposed allocation to the sector this year is at a historic high of N92billion. This sum will complement the existing efforts by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and CBN to boost agricultural productivity through increased intervention funding at single digit interest rate under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, commercial agricultural credit scheme and The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending.Accordingly, our agricultural policy will focus on the integrated development of the agricultural sector by facilitating access to inputs, improving market access, providing equipment and storage as well as supporting the development of commodity exchanges.

58. The 2017 Budget estimates retains the allocation of N500 billion to the Special Intervention programme consisting of the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme to provide loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and the new Family Homes Fund (social housing scheme). The N-Power Programme has recently taken off with the employment of 200,000 graduates across the country, while the School Feeding Programme has commenced in a few States, where the verification of caterers has been completed

Sincerely if anyone tells you that all these points will be implemented 100%, you can confidently say to that person that such assertion is untrue. However, this highlight is what you need to position yourself to benefit from government spending in 2017.

Begin to think of a business you can start that can aid the accomplishment of these government objectives or at least qualify you to apply for government funding – The funding agencies will usually want to see that you have started something.

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