On signing the 2018 appropriation bill into law on June 20, President Muhammadu Buhari immediately relaunched the blame game that delayed the budget for 224 days, a record in Nigerian history. This blame game is the result of a lack of leadership from the executive to make the budgetary process efficient and effective. Rather than ask for the judicial arm of government to rule on the constitutionality or otherwise of legislative alterations to the budget, the executive arm prefers to rely on propaganda, an exercise that leaves ordinary Nigerians at the receiving end.
Regarding the budget itself, there is little evidence that this and other budgets under this administration pass the smell test. In just 3 years, the budget has more than doubled, but all there is to show for it is a recession and a sluggish recovery driven entirely by a rise in oil prices.
In less than 3 years, the public debt has nearly doubled, from N12.1 trillion in June 2015 to N22.7 trillion in March 2018, a rise of 87.6%.
Over N3 trillion has been spent on capital expenditure in 2016 and 2017, but this is funded entirely by debt. This is because 60% of government revenues already goes to servicing debts. To make matters worse, the
actual delivery of infrastructure is underwhelming, with no significant upgrade in infrastructure stock.
Therefore, the debt-fuelled expansionary budgets of this administration are doing incalculable damage to the fiscal future of the country. It will impose a hefty debt burden on current young Nigerians in the future.
We believe that a competent leader with knowledge and character is what Nigeria needs to steer fiscal policy to support sustainable economic growth and development of Nigeria. We also believe that the foreign borrowing binge of the Buhari administration must be curtailed as an inevitable part of recreating our country’s future, a future in which Nigerians of the next generations would not be saddled with crippling public debt.
Professor Kingsley Moghalu, a presidential aspirant of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), stands ready to provide this leadership for our country from May 2019.