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.
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.