N13.08tn 2021 Budget Ambitious, Unrealistic – ActionAid Nigeria

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A non governmental organisation, ActionAid Nigeria has described the 2021 budget proposal of N13.08 trillion as ambitious and unrealizable.

In a statement issued by the country director, Ene Obi, ActionAid Nigeria urged the Federal government to revisit the 2021 budget proposal, presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly last week, and make it a workable one that will hasten the development of the country.

According to ActionAid Nigeria, the budget should be devoid of vague and abstract terms, adding that the budget information should be complete and concise and all allocations channelled towards concrete deliverables, targeting human and infrastructural development.

ActionAid also berated the federal government for not budgeting enough for developmental sectors of agriculture, education and health.

“The health, education and agricultural sectors are not yet given the attention required given their strategic importance in pioneering the economy.

“The budget allocations in the 2021 budget to these 3 key sectors should be reviewed upwards, given that they are already falling below the international benchmarks. For example, for agriculture, the international recommended benchmark is 10%, according to the AU 2003 Maputo declaration. Unfortunately for Nigeria, agricultural allocation is mere 1.73%, health 4.16% and education 7.54%. Further reduction will exacerbate poverty and inequality in the country.

“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,” the statement read.

ActionAid Nigeria called on Nigerian government to open up public debate before entering loan contracts and should enhance its capacity to offset these loans before obtaining more of the same.

“A budget deficit of 5.19trillion is expected to be funded through loans from both the international and domestic institutions. This constitute about 24% of the total appropriation bill. With the dwindling revenue occasioned by falling oil prices, non-remittances, leakages etc, the tendency that borrowing will continue in 2021 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 30th, 2020.

“Loans should not be used for recurrent expenditures such as salaries, traveling allowances.”

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