By Elizabeth Uwandu
Against the backdrop of the allocation of 31 percent of the total budget for debt servicing in the 2019 budget, some experts have concluded that the budget appears modest, mild and uninspiring with a number of flaws.
The experts who spoke at the annual seminar of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, with a theme, ‘Accelerating Growth for Economic and Social Transformation,’ last weekend, noted that the budget did not address the challenges of rising unemployment.
Commenting on the budget, President of CITN, Dr. Cyril Ede, stated: “With the N8.83 trillion 2019 budget, and a provision for debt servicing accounting for 31 percent of revenues, there is cause for serious concern, as it shows that there is still a lot to be done in the area of internal resource mobilisation.”
Founder of Proshare, Olufemi Awoyemi, a guest speaker in a paper titled, ‘Fiscal Projections of the 2019 Budget: Challenges and Prospects,’ described the budget as modest, mild and uninspiring with a number of broad flaws.
He said, “The budget fails to excite vision, ignite passion and it simply tries to steady a course that has seen the economy stall to a growth rate of about two percent; a figure which the latest IMF estimates expect to be the growth index for 2019. Why and where will growth come from? The budget has rested on a cushion of figures rather than a philosophy of progress.
“In addition, the paltry seven percent of revenue projected for the education sector in the 2019 budget clearly reveals the lack of radical reasoning amongst economic managers. Ghana, Nigeria’s neighbor spends about 23 percent of its budget on education, thereby explaining why rich Nigerians spend about a $1billion annually training their children in that country.
“Budget 2019 does not in any creative way address the challenges of rising unemployment.”
Managing Director, Cordros Capital Limited, Mr. Femi Ademola, said although there is a huge challenge with the feasibility of the 2019 budget, the means for its actualisation lies in public-private partnership.
Ademola said, “Government have limited financial resources to devote to increased capital expenditure for improving public services and face restrictions on the ability to raise debt, in particular, due to adherence to the principles of economic convergence and fiscal restraint enshrined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act. As a result, PPPs are now a growing element of public sector procurement in Nigeria.”