Following the Senate’s approval of the federal government’s request to borrow $500 million in order to upset the 2016 budget deficit, may be this is also the right time for Nigerians to demand explanations from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Looking at the state of things in the country and how everything economy is been managed, there is no doubt that the intelligence of an average Nigerian is being played with politically.
Obviously the issues that came with 2016 budget are not only seem to have been forgotten by most Nigerians who are not in the know but such persons are likely to go through the same turn of events again.
How come Nigerians did not ask questions about the approved 2016 budget of N6.06 trillion where there are many to ask?
Highlights from this budget as reported by Naij include;
-Aggregate expenditure — N6, 060,677,358,227
-Statutory transfers – N351, 370,000,000
-Debt service – N1, 475,320,000,000
-Recurrent expenditure – N2, 646,389,236,196
-Capital expenditure – N1, 587,598,122,031
-Fiscal deficit – N2, 204,936,925,711.16
-Deficit/GDP – 2.14 per cent
-Oil price benchmark and crude oil production were left at US38 per barrel and 2.2000mbpd respectively.
-Similarly, the exchange was left at N197/USD1.
Not only did the 2016 budget consciously got signed and approved by Buhari as late as the mid-2016, Nigerians are yet to know the whereabouts of the sum.
Now, just a few hours ago, The Cable reported that the Nigerian Senate has just approved the sum of $500 million out of the $1 billion Eurobond from the international capital market to be borrowed by the federal government in order to upset the 2016 deficit of 2.22 trillion Naira (equivalent to 2.16% of Nigeria’s GDP).
First, why 2.22 trillion Naira deficit out of N6.06 trillion when Nigeria’s internal and external revenues are not too terrible to complement the approved budget?
Since Nigerians did not mind enough to ask questions, that aside, may be they can now ask Buhari and his cabinet to provide a tenable explanation as to the whereabouts of the sum.
How come months after the said budget had been approved and signed by Buhari nothing has been done by the federal or state governments to improve the state of things in Nigeria?
How come none of the proposed projects are in sight yet?
Unlike other countries around the world, Nigeria’s fiscal plans have always been a failure due to improper research, coordination, unnecessary delays and lack of seriousness in the entire process of putting up and executing a decent budget year in, year out.
The 2016 budget has been nothing but a joke since its approval by President Muhammadu Buhari in the middle of the year as major projects in the country have not seen the light of the day till this time.
Yet, the sum of N7.298 trillion has been proposed for 2017 budget with key capital spending provision to include:
-Power, Works and Housing: N529billion;
-Transportation: N262 billion;
-Special Intervention Programmes: N150 billion.
-Defence: N140 billion;
-Water Resources: N85 billion;
-Industry, Trade and Investment: N81 billion;
-Interior: N63 billion;
-Education N50 billion
-Universal Basic Education Commission: N92 billion
-Health: N51 billion
-Federal Capital Territory: N37 billion;
-Niger Delta Ministry: N33 billion; and
-Niger Delta Development Commission: N61 billion
Looking critically at the 2017 budget, it’s obvious that proper research into the country’s actual sources of revenue, basic areas of expenditure as well as major challenges were not done before the budget was put together.
Nigeria currently has too much on plate to have such sums go down without explanations.
Since Buhari assumed power, he has been fighting corruption and recovering the country’s loot, how come nothing has either been said about the recovered funds nor has any project been executed with it?
This calls for concern as millions of Nigerians are seeking answers to lots of unclear areas of the budget.
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