By Chimezie Godfrey
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and other stakeholders have urged the government to increase its budgetary allocation to key economic sectors.
The stakeholders stated this on Tuesday during a virtual press conference, and the launch of “The Public Finance Management Roadmap.”
The group decried the fact that the Nigerian government has over the years allocated more money to recurrent expenditure, adding that analysis of the 2018 and 2019 budget performance shows the same usual trend of higher recurrent spending and lower capital spending.
“In 2018, the federal government proposed a total budget of N9.1 trillion but appropriate just 31.5 percent of this sum to capital expenditure with recurrent taking the remaining 68.5%.
“However, only N3.96 trillion was generated at the end of the year, and N3.1trillion, representing 78 percent of this sum was spent on non-debt recurrent expenditure.
“Similarly, the 2019 federal budget was N8.8 trillion with recurrent taking the lion share at N4.04 trillion representing 46 percent while capital allocation got N2.031 trillion representing 23 percent.
“Recently too, as a result of fiscal mismanagement, government expenditure on debt servicing has assumed a dangerous pattern in the past few years, gulping more than yearly capital expenditure.
“This trend is not limited to the federal budget alone, many states have consistently maintained a similar trend or pattern of expenditure. This is a fundamental setback to any prospect of development financing as the bulk of government resources goes into recurrent and debt financing at the expense of capital financing.
“So, to achieve serious development, there is a need for governments both at national and sub-national to a progressive expenditure pattern by allocating more resources to capital expenditure considering the important role capital expenditure plays in engendering socio-economic development in the country.
“There is a need to increase budgetary allocation to key sectors of the economy such as education, health, infrastructure, and food sufficiency.
“The principle behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires government spending to be inclusive, far-reaching, and all-encompassing,” the stakeholders stated.
They arrived at the conclusion that government’s spending should focus majorly on improving the quality of universal public education, increase public health spending, and on social protection programs that benefits the poor.
They further stated that government should implement the universal tax-base, ensure transparency of public procurement system, and transparency of the flow of public funds, among others.
Discussants at the event include, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, the Executive Director (CISLAC), Mr David Nwachukwu (Private sector governance and Public Finance Management, Strengthening Public Finance in Nigeria (STREPFIN), and Mrs Kyuata Giwa (Public Finance Management and Education funding, Education Project Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria).
Others are Alfred Okoh (Technical Adviser to the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation), and Stanley Achonu (Civil Society Adviser, Nigeria Open Government Partnership Secretariat).