On a yearly basis, how much do you spend on basic needs, that is, essential things like house rent, food, clothes, recharge cards etc. If that seems like a long shot then you can calculate how much you spend in a month for your basic needs.
How about calculating how long it will take you to spend N24,000? Because that is the exact amount the Federal Government is spending on you this year. You might wonder how…
Stay with me.
On December 14, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2017 budget to the joint house of the National Assembly. The budget is worth N7.298 trillion. Apart from being a 20.4% increase over the 2016 budget, the 2017 Budget is the largest budget Nigeria will ever have.
However, what the above figures don’t say is that when you convert the money into Dollars (our preferred foreign exchange) at the current market rate, it is only a meager $15 billion. For a bit of context, it is less than the budget of the state of Kansas in the United States, with its population of 2.9 million people.
Now where it really gets really interesting is that when you calculate how much in per capita terms each of Nigeria’s over 193 million citizens will get from the budget, you will discover that it is just a meagre $77 or N24,291.
This means that this year, when despite the fact that Nigeria’s major foreign exchange earner has taken a major price hit resulting in an excruciating recession that has driven up the price of most commodities, the government has only N24,000 to spend on you.
Nigeria’s currency has depreciated more than 170 percent against the dollar while the country’s GDP has contracted accordingly in dollar terms. And things are not getting better.
If you are still a student then things are worse because in this year’s budget, the education sector only has N398.01bn allocated to it. In 2016, only 1.5 million candidates registered to write JAMB for admission into university. In the 2016 budget, a total of 90 higher institutions shared an N325bn — 68% of the entire education budget. It remains to be seen how much such institutions will get this year or what percentage will go to schools at the primary and secondary levels.
I bet the first time you saw the figures for the 2017 budget, you thought wow that’s a huge sum of money. However, as the analysis has shown, the sum cannot solve Nigeria’s problems. And if you take into consideration the huge infrastructural decay the country is battling with, coupled with the fact that a huge chunk of the budget will still find its way into some people’s pockets, you will realise it probably won’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Hence, it is safe to say that the government will not do much this year. Therefore, the onus may lie more on private sectors and individuals to think out of the box and find creative solutions to the country’s myriads of problems.
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