2019 Budget: High cost of governance bane of Nigeria’s economy — expert



The Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership and Strategy and Development, Dr Otive Igbuzor has advised the Federal government to review its budgetary process to include community participation.

Igbuzor gave the advice on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja while reacting on the 2019 Appropriation Law.

He said that international best practice showed that every community should have a say in the nation’s budget if it’s to lead to economic growth.

Igbuzor however said that the high cost of governance had impeded economic development in the country.

He said that the budget was not making much impact because most of the money was spent on recurrent expenditures like salaries and overheads.

“ There are statutory allocations to the National Assembly, the judiciary, ecological fund, development of mineral resources that are not monitored.

“In fact, the 2012 audit of the Auditor General of the Federation stated clearly that there are some fraudulent practices going on with these funds.

“In terms of the content of the budget, the budgetary allocation to the social sectors; education, health and infrastructure which will directly impact on citizens is still low,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Henry Ushie, Public Private Sector Transparency and Accountabiliy Programme Officer, OXFAM commended the government for priotising agriculture in the area of budgetary of allocation.

“On the other side, a lot has been given to interior and I don’t exactly know how that is going to impact on the citizens.

“I think we could take some recurrent out of the interior and give more to the defense because in terms of security, a lot should be given to the defense.”

“Overall, the budget is still on the low.

“A University like Cambridge has an annual budgets of about N11 trillion and a country like Nigeria with a population of over 200 million has a budget of just 8.9  trillion,’’ he said.

Also, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyepere expressed worry over the ability of the government to meet up with its revenue projections.

“I see a central challenge in the realisation of the revenue needed to implement the 2019 budget against the background of the revelation that only 55 per cent of the 2018 projections were realised.

“This follows the trajectory in previous years where the federal government consistently failed to realise budgeted revenue.

“We are worried that despite the price of crude oil selling above the benchmark price in the last couple of years, we have hardly met the production target of 2.3million barrels a day.

“ The recent disclosure that the country produces less than 2mbpd falls in line with the trajectory of this challenge.

“The dominance of oil in the revenue profile as well as the relatively meager revenue expected from the non-oil sector compounds the revenue challenge,’’ he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday signed the 2019 appropriation bill into law, signaling beginning of the implementation of the 2019 fiscal calendar. (NAN)

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