Nigeria’s budget lowest in sub Sahara Africa, only good to pay salary — FG

…Says it’s
…As Osinbajo targets 12 months for economic turnaround

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday painted a gloomy picture on the expectations of Nigerians as regards the provision of essential infrastructure, payment of workers salary as well as delivery of other services.

According to the government, the annual budgetary provisions available is not enough to meet all the required needs of the people.

This is as the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, assured, however,  that the government was working round the clock to reposition the economy, stressing that with determined efforts and focus, the challenges could be over in the next 12 months.

Kemi Adeosun

Osinbajo also said government had identified certain critical things that could be done to improve the economic fortunes of the country even as he assured the private sector of a conducive business environment to operate.

Speaking at the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Acting President said despite the challenges, progress was still possible.

He said:  “Despite these problems, progress is still possible. But as we tackle the problems, it’s really like propelling a car while the engine is still running. That’s really what we need to do. And while this vehicle of ours is moving forward, we must be doing the repairs at the same time.

Economic recovery

“When Mr President launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, EGRP,  sometimes in April, one of the things he emphasized was the fact that we have made up our minds as to where we are going. And I think that we have the discipline to be able to do so, but this is a complex environment, it is a complete economy.

“I have said this repeatedly, that in some sense, we are fortunate to have a leader like the President, who at least we know,  is straightforward and honest, and committed to ensuring government expenditure is spent the way it should be spent and that people don’t do what they like.

“To that extent, I think we have the right environment, at least in terms of government discipline and all of that, to be able to deliver on the promises that we have made. And all I will just want to say to the private sector is to be sure that we have enough willing and able partners.”

Nigeria’s budget only good to pay salary—FG

Speaking at the forum, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, noted that the budget size of the country was not enough to carry all government’s programmes and also pay salaries of workers, stressing that the country had the least budget size in sub-Saharan Africa

She said:  “Our budget is significantly lower when attached to GDP.  We are currently at six per cent. It is lower than all our peers and that is the lowest in Sub-Sahara Africa and one of the lowest in the world.

“Our budget size is too small and that means we can only pay salaries in some cases and we don’t have money to deliver essential services.

‘’There simply isn’t enough money in government to do what government wants to do. I am sure you will say that is because people are stealing or because you are wasting money but I am saying even if you plug all the stealing and all the waste, the budget size is not big enough and that is because we are not paying enough in terms of tax or we are not collecting enough in terms of tax.

GENCOs demand tariff increase

“On impact made in the power sector so far: What was the level or history of power production in Nigeria, so many people are talking on review the privatisation of power without knowing where we started from, where are we today. Are we owed money or are we not owed money?

“These monies, some of it belong to the banks, some of it belong to us, where are we today?  That is why we cannot discuss with the Acting President here in this assembly,we asked for a private meeting where serious decision could be taken and whether government likes it or not, it has to review the tariff of power in this country.’’

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