By Ugo Aliogo
The Country Director, Actionaid Nigeria (AAN), Mrs. Ene Obi, has expressed the need for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to adopt a bottom-up approach to budget creation.
She also advised states and local governments to pursue developmental impact in the rural communities, stating that the budgetary process should be participatory and encompassing.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, Actionaid Nigeria noted that an Appropriation Bill of N13.08 trillion with an aggregate revenue projection of N7.886 trillion was very ambitious.
She also noted that the downward spiral trend of the economy compelled the federal government to review the 2020 budget, in which total government expenditure was revised downwards from N10.594 trillion to N10.523 trillion.
“A budget deficit of N5.19 trillion is expected to be funded through loans from both the international and domestic institutions. This constitutes about 24 per cent of the total Appropriation Bill.
“With the dwindling revenue occasioned by falling oil prices, non-remittances, leakages and others, the tendency that borrowing will continue in 2020 to fund the budget is likely.
“This is a major concern as the debt profile keeps pilling and to substantiate this, the Debt Management Office (DMO) showcases the nation’s total debt stock at N31.009 ($85.897b) as of June 30, 2021,” she noted.
Continuing, she said a coordinated framework should be established to ensure that funds allocated to health, education and agriculture are properly administered, ensuring value for money and an integrated approach.
She argued that the allocation in the 2021 proposed budget to health, education and agriculture sectors should be reviewed upwards, given that they are already falling below the international benchmarks.
According to her, “The international recommended benchmark is 10 per cent according to the AU 2003 Maputo Declaration. Unfortunately for Nigeria, agricultural allocation is mere 1.73 per cent, health – 4.16 per cent and education – 7.54 per cent.
“Further reduction will exacerbate poverty and inequality in the country.
“The budget should be devoid of vague and abstract terms, the budget information should be complete and concise. All allocations should be channeled towards concrete deliverables, targeting human and infrastructural development.
“The Nigerian government should open up public debate before entering loan contracts and should enhance its capacity to offset these loans before obtaining more of the same. Furthermore, loans should not be used for recurrent expenditures such as salaries, and traveling allowances.”