By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS – Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, has commended the Federal Government for the N6.08 trillion 2016 budget announced on Tuesday just as it stressed the need for the content of the budget to be implemented for the benefit of all Nigerians.
In a statement issued in Lagos Friday, the ASCSN President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, lauded the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to recruit 500,000 unemployed graduates and holders of National Certificate of Education, NCE, as teachers to curb the escalating rate of unemployment in the country.
According to the statement: “We also commend Mr President for his decision to ensure that all the Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) are captured and brought under the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) because this will not only reduce the burden of manual preparation of payrolls but also curb cases of sharp practices in the system.”
While praising the Government for its resolve to compile the list of the poorest to implement its cash transfer programme, the Union stressed the need for the policy to be transparent and inclusive without discrimination, saying: “We must equally express joy in the decision of Government to make good its promise to provide a meal per day for primary school pupils.”
ASCSN, however, frowned at the decision of the Government that fuel subsidy would not be removed “for now” because the impression had been created that it might be removed later more-so that no provision was made for fuel subsidy in the budget estimate.
It canvassed the meeting of all stakeholders including labour to discuss the subsidy issue and argued that the price of crude oil in the international market had reduced drastically meaning that the template being used to arrive at the price of fuel should be reviewed downward commensurably.
“If that is done, it is doubtful if the price of petrol will be up to ₦70 per litre,” the union stated.
The Union observed the level of deficit financing in the budget put at ₦2.22 trillion and posited that it was on the high side and advised the Government to work very hard in the area of looted funds recovery as that would go a long way to shore up government revenue and thereby mitigate the negative impact which the quantum of deficit would have on the entire economy.
“On the whole, the union expressed happiness that instead of talking about austerity measures, the government has decided to put more money in the economy, a scenario that has the potential of bringing more resources to the poorest of Nigerians which would also impact positively on major economic variables,” ASCSN emphasized.
The Union appealed for full implementation of the 2016 budget and hoped that things would surely get better at the end of the financial year.