…says N2.42trn capital expenditure huge
Lead Partner, BudgIt, Mr. Seun Onigbinde, has called on the Federal Government to see the need to end the cycle of poverty through some form of social intervention in the proposed 2018 budget.
Onigbinde explained that the economy required significant fiscal injections to sustain and accelerate its growth.
He said, “The capital expenditure allocation of N2.42 trillion is huge in nominal terms, when compared to previous budgets. Given that almost all capital expenditure allocation will be financed primarily by debts, we hope that the line items in the budget will reflect such.
“Nigeria cannot continue to borrow to buy cars, computers, and other equipment to the detriment of the masses. We hope the biggest proportion of the capital allocation will go into improving infrastructure, expanding access to education, health, among others.”
He, however, agreed that the budget benchmark of $45 per barrel was within the band but added that there must be excessive caution in keeping the peace at the Niger Delta region, which is a crucial element in ensuring optimal production.
According to him, the budget proposal will need proper interrogation from all stakeholders and analyses will be better when the line items are released to the public in a timely manner, in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which the President swore to uphold.
He warned that, given that the biggest proportion of government projected revenue would come from the non-oil sector, government would need to be more transparent about finances, including releasing more information on actual recoveries from the loot recovered from former public officials.
“Also, we believe that the revenue projection of N6.6 trillion is very optimistic, considering the total retained revenue of the Federal Government, including non-oil and oil-related revenue in 2015 and 2016, which was N2.8trillion and N2.6trillion, respectively,” Onigbinde added.
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