Pe­ti­tion on 2018 bud­get- Need to in­crease it to N15 tril­lion (III)

Fed­eral Govern­ment, bud­get N15tril­lion or Noth­ing! Note that whether this ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues or an­other comes is im­ma­te­rial as this dream ba­si­cally de­fines next year for Nige­ri­ans.

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Top­sy­fash@yahoo.com (SMS 08070850159) with Tope Fa­sua

Ihereby con­clude this se­ries by com­plet­ing how govern­ment can raise the funds. Let me quickly add that I thought about how gov­ern­ments raise funds in the UK and UAE and this they do by link­ing their com­pany house (our CAC), with the In­land Rev­enue (FIRS), and also the banks. No one can run a com­pany or run a com­pany ac­count if they do not present their An­nual Re­turns (from the CAC equiv­a­lent), and the CAC equiv­a­lent will not is­sue that re­turns with­out see­ing a tax cer­tifi­cate. And banks close down com­pany ac­counts if the CAC re­turns is not ob­tained. When our lead­ers are ready, they will do the need­ful. For now, they are not ready. I also found out that with much im­punity, the Min­is­ter of Bud­get fur­ther RE­DUCED 2019 bud­get to NN8.6tril­lion. I will fight them to the fin­ish on be­half of the peo­ple of Nige­ria. Read on please:

6. Es­tab­lish shared ser­vices agency and com­pul­sory an­nual ac­count­ing- Any bud­get which con­cen­trates on waste via ego-trips, or on the con­ve­niences of pow­er­ful demigods in of­fice not only kills a na­tion, but en­sures stunted growth. A bud­get is a spend­ing plan that should re­flate it­self. So, there is a way of stream­lin­ing the bud­get to re­duce the ex­pen­di­ture com­po­nent in the right places, while free­ing up rev­enue in other ar­eas to en­sure the econ­omy is prop­erly re­booted for pro­duc­tiv­ity. My tar­get and con­sis­tent ad­mo­ni­tion is that this econ­omy should grow by 15-20% per an­num. Only dou­ble digit growth can jus­tify up­per dou­ble digit in­ter­est rates and in­fla­tion. So, rather than the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion where ev­ery pow­er­ful per­son in the MDAs throw in sundry fancy projects to fill up the bud­get, we should have a strictly con­trolled agency that does the pro­cure­ment for all MDAs and also sees to proper us­age and dis­posal af­ter use­ful life of govern­ment as­sets (like the GSA - Gen­eral Ser­vices Agency - in the USA). Also, Nige­ria must im­me­di­ately es­tab­lish a com­pul­sory pub­lish­ing of the Com­pre­hen­sive An­nual Fi­nan­cial Re­port by ALL MDAs. This will en­sure that we ur­gently and grad­u­ally be­gin to em­brace the kind of responsibility that has made other na­tions great. For starters, we urge the Nige­rian govern­ment to ban the pur­chase of any new car for any agency for the next two years at least. To em­pha­size this, our bud­gets should be for the peo­ple. It must be clearly shown that those bud­gets are cal­i­brated to up­lift the peo­ple.

7. Pri­vate sec­tor ap­proach An econ­omy can­not be run any dif­fer­ently from a pri­vate sec­tor en­ter­prise… at the end of the day. When I lis­ten to oth­er­wise en­light­ened peo­ple speak about how this is the best we can achieve in Nige­ria - even in the face of so much ev­i­dence as to what is hap­pen­ing else­where - I just mar­vel. The level of ac­count­abil­ity that drives the pri­vate sec­tor must ul­ti­mately and im­me­di­ately be­gin to drive our econ­omy. Ditto the sense of progress and ur­gency. In the pri­vate sec­tor, you will have hell to pay if you tell your share­hold­ers or bosses that you are pro­ject­ing smaller fig­ures in ab­so­lute terms for next year com­pared with this year. You have to ex­plain why the com­pany is dy­ing. Nige­ria is dy­ing. The N8.9 tril­lion pro­jec­tion by Nige­ria’s Min­istry of Bud­get­ing for 2019 is not only N7.7tril­lion in 2018 Naira, but con­verted at 2015 Naira (which was N200 to the US$), the fig­ure is a mere N4.2tril­lion - smaller in real terms than the bud­get for 2014! What will hap­pen in a pri­vate sec­tor set­ting is that a new CEO will be hired who will not lis­ten to any ex­cuse about how the com­pany (coun­try) is pe­cu­liar and how there are dif­fer­ent evil spir­its and prin­ci­pal­i­ties crawl­ing out of ev­ery hole. The new CEO will ask only one ques­tions; “How is An­gola bud­get­ing twice, Al­ge­ria thrice and South Africa do­ing 6 times our bud­get?”. Then he will pro­ceed to is­sue out march­ing orders and tar­gets, and even lay off some fat cats who are sit­ting on the com­pany’s neck and choking it to death with their dead weight. The fact is that this econ­omy is still shut in. The econ­omy hasn’t started, and most peo­ple who should know, are un­for­tu­nately suf­fer­ing some sort of cog­ni­tive bias or the other. This cer­tainly is not the best we could achieve. My prayers/con­clu­sion I urge the Nige­rian govern­ment to have a to­tal relook/ re­con­sid­er­a­tion of the 2019 bud­get. I urge it to find ev­ery way to in­crease the bud­get to at least N15tril­lion for the sake of the Nige­rian peo­ple, and to cal­i­brate the bud­get for the good of poor Nige­ri­ans, and not for fat cats and smart Alecs who roam around the min­istries, de­part­ments and agen­cies. I urge the govern­ment, and in­deed all Nige­ri­ans to throw away their Nige­rian eyes and look at our present predica­ment with fresh eyes. It is the decades-old in­sti­tu­tion of medi­ocrity - which mas­quer­ades as cor­rup­tion, nepo­tism, greed - that we can­not see that even other African coun­tries have since over­taken us in their in­vest­ment in HU­MAN CAP­I­TAL. It is the stran­gle­hold on our men­tal fac­ul­ties that makes us want to miss this nec­es­sary in­flec­tion point from where we could blos­som into our destiny. We should never, as Nige­ri­ans, go around just beat­ing our chests about be­ing the largest econ­omy in Africa when we know we have noth­ing to show for it.

This hum­ble re­quest for a con­sid­er­able up­ward re­view of the 2019 bud­get is fur­ther premised on the need for govern­ment to for once do some­thing rea­son­able for the peo­ple of Nige­ria. We have seen many decades where gov­ern­ments merely care about their few mega bil­lion­aire friends. Our gov­ern­ments are quicker in ar­rang­ing bank bailouts and as­sist­ing mega de­fault­ers to stave off their bad loans. More than N6tril­lion of such loans sit in AMCON while Nige­ri­ans have be­come beg­gars in their own land. An­other $7bil­lion (over N2tril­lion) is al­legedly stuck in some lo­cal and for­eign banks since 2006! We are only de­mand­ing for a lit­tle fair­ness.

The 2019 bud­get and all bud­gets go­ing for­ward should not be bud­gets of con­ve­nience and ap­pur­te­nances for the 18,000 top civil ser­vants and politi­cians, but should be used clearly and suc­cinctly to re­flate and re­boot the econ­omy, by fo­cus­ing on crit­i­cal sec­tors - se­cu­rity, ba­sic pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­ment, health, com­merce, agri­cul­ture, ru­ral and ur­ban hous­ing for the poor, tourism de­vel­op­ment, in­cen­tiviza­tion of a lo­cal tex­tile in­dus­try, etc, so as to give Nige­ria a new face glob­ally, at­tract more in­vest­ments lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and up­lift the qual­ity of hu­man cap­i­tal in Nige­ria. This is also the ir­re­duc­ible min­i­mum that we must achieve so that our coun­try is averted from im­mi­nent im­plo­sion due to decades of sys­temic medi­ocrity and un­der­achieve­ment.

Fed­eral Govern­ment, bud­get N15tril­lion or Noth­ing! Note that whether this ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues or an­other comes is im­ma­te­rial as this dream ba­si­cally de­fines next year for Nige­ri­ans. We must learn to aim for the moon so that we can find our­selves among the stars.

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