James Emejo in Abuja
The Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, has advised the government at the federal, state and local government levels to adequately address the needs of the people.
Akabueze, who featured as a guest on live television programme yesterday, decried that the budgets were insufficient to meet the expectation of Nigerians.
He also stressed the need for more revenue generation aimed at improving the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Our tax with GDP ratio is about the lowest in the whole world, not even talking about Africa.
“So, our budgets, not just of the federal, but of the sub-national governments are way too small to be able to address our needs in the way that people expect,” the budget office chief said.
He added: “Unfortunately, in the last five years, we have found ourselves first in recession in 2016 and just as we were turning the curve, the COVID-19-induced recession and during a recession, it is difficult to grow revenues.”
According to Akabueze, the national budget does not equate to the Federal Government’s budget as perceived by most people.
He stated that all the analysis was always focused on the federal government’s budget, but the reality was that an aggregate of the budgets of the federal, state, and local governments was way below the threshold where it should be.
The economist revealed that the aggregate public spending, as a percentage of Nigeria’s GDP, was about 50 per cent of the African average.
He explained that this was so because the nation’s public sector revenues were half of the African average.
Akabueze stated, “When people are talking about how much we are spending on education, they are talking about how much the federal government is allocating, whereas education is a matter on the concurrent legislative list… people really don’t look in that direction and expect the federal government’s budget to solve every problem.
“So, every community in the country is looking to see some provision for it in the federal government’s budget and it really cannot be that way.”