ICAN President, Mr. Adedoyin Owolabi
By James Emejo
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Tuesday blamed the deteriorating level of poverty in the country on the systemic failure of budget implementation by the three tiers of government.
Speaking in Abuja at the Institute's annual symposium on "Budgets of the Federal Government of Nigeria", ICAN President, Mr. Adedoyin Owolabi said not much had been achieved in annual budget implementation both at micro and macro levels.
He said: "Each year, brilliant and huge budget proposals are presented by the government to, and are subsequently approved with amendments by, the National Assembly. Yet, at year end, not much appears to have been achieved both at the micro and macro levels if the rates of unemployment, poverty, inflation, amongst others, are anything to go by."
The symposium was designed to take a retrospective at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 budgets with a view to determining and assessing their impact on the economy and how governance and management of some key macroeconomic indicators have affected the successful implementation of the budgets.
The president said: "As a stakeholder in the economy, the Institute is deeply concerned about the nation's paradox of poverty in the midst of wealth. The nation is richly endowed with human and natural resources and therefore has no reason to be a poor sprinter in the economic development race.
Owolabi also criticised government's resort to huge external borrowing to finance budget deficits even when there are minimum impact in the lives of Nigerians.
"The huge absolute value of budget deficit financed mainly with borrowings from the banking system has continued to negatively impact cost of funds in the economy. Capacity utilisation in the real sector has not improved phenomenally,” he added.
"Availability of efficient infrastructural facilities has remained a dream as capital allocations have remained disproportionate to the extent of need.
Continuing, he said: "The level of budget implementation of has not given any reason for stakeholders to cheer why the budget cycle has remained unpredictable. Inevitably, the quality of life of the average Nigerian has continued to decline while the cost of governance has continued to soar."