BudgIT: FG’s Personnel Cost Rises to N2.1tn

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•Says only 54% revenue target met in 2018
•Debt service gulps N2.09tn

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government’s personnel cost has risen from N1.8 trillion to N2.1 trillion, even without the full implementation of the payment of the new minimum wage, BudgIT, a public finance data mining hub, has revealed.
Personnel cost is the total remuneration for public officials in cash or in kind, payable to them in return for work done during a reference period.

BudgIT also disclosed that a total of N2.09 trillion spent by the federal government on debt service in 2018 was the highest ever spent on such line item, adding that “this is getting scary.”

In series of tweets on its official Twitter handle ‘@BudgITng’, the organisation said: “In 2018, FG (federal government) spent N2.09tn on servicing public debts. This grew from N1.63tn in 2017. FG is spending so much on servicing debt and it plans to borrow more.

“Total recurrent expenditure shot up to N5.39tn in 2018, a N800bn growth in a year without new minimum wage implementation.
“FG claims spending N1.65tn on capital expenditure in 2018. However, we will be asking for details for public accountability.
“FG borrowed N1.74tn in 2018 and sources for additional deficit (borrowing) of N1.90tn were not stated. Who is your guess that has covered the shortfall?”

The federal government, it added, spent N7.51 trillion based on a revenue of N3.86 trillion, creating a deficit of N3.64 trillion
According to BudgIT, although the government recorded a revenue of N3.86 tn, it spent N5.86 tn on recurrent expenditure, meaning that N2 tn was borrowed to fund recurrent expenses.

“A sum of N329bn was utilised for Power, Works & Housing projects, N139bn for transport projects, N52bn for health projects, N47bn for education projects, N71bn for water resources and N135bn for agriculture projects. Health and education still poorly invested in.
“It is clear that Nigeria has a huge revenue problem and the current pace of recurrent expenditure is not sustainable.

“We need more details on N1.65tn capital expenditure in a year. We will follow up with FOI.
“It’s abnormal for a country to spend 50-60 per cent of revenue on debt servicing. Our revenue is abysmally low and we are not efficient on the expenditure side,” BudgIT added.

Providing further breakdown of the 2018 fiscal plan, it noted that recurrent expenditure (including statutory transfers) hit N5.85 trillion in 2018 while total revenues earned by the federal government stood at N3.86 trillion
This showed that oil revenue was N1.96 trillion; non-oil revenue- N1.12 trillion and federal government independent revenues, N395 billion.
BugiT wondered what constituted “other financing sources” as explained in last year’s fiscal plan, which stood at N385 billion.

On whether the federal government met its revenue target for 2018 or not, the data mining hub said while the government plan was to earn N7.16 trillion in 2018, it was only able to reach N3.85 trillion, a 54 per cent revenue performance.
Although there was a revenue growth from N2.66 trillion in 2017 to N3.86 trillion in 2018, BudgIT attributed this mainly to growth in oil revenue.

It added that higher oil prices and stable production shot up federal government’s share of oil revenue from N1.12 trillion in 2017 to N1.96 trillion in 2018.
BudgIT said: “FG did not record any earned income from recovered assets or sales of oil and gas assets. FG personnel cost has risen from the N1.8tn mark to N2.1tn, without the full implementation of the new minimum wage plan.”

For the Special Intervention Programmes (SIPs), it stated that N144 billion was spent on recurrent and N59 billion on the Presidential Amnesty Programme while N305 billion was deducted from its special accounts.