Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Pat Utomi Explains Why Budget Is Not Working In Nigeria

Professor Pat Utomi has shared his opinions about the 2016 national budget presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday, December 22.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily a few hours before the presentation of the budget by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian economist confessed that he considers the budget process a joke.

“January 20 years ago, I was one of those who began to analyse the budget, and by December, there were issues with implementation.

“We somehow do not have the discipline of the budget process, we go through budget as public relations exercises because they are supposed to be done and decision makers go ahead to do whatever they want to do,” he said.

Further in his speech, Utomi proffered solutions to the problem of budget implementation. According to him, “the goal is to achieve an execution premium, but if those who are responsible for it (the budget) really had no plan whatsoever to follow the budget, then, you are wasting your time.

“When those who are responsible for it, do not see long term goals in which the budget is just a piece in an unfolding set of activities that would reach a certain goal, there is no point of it.

“I think what has happened to us is that we got to a point of disconnect between the leadership elite, the political class, the bureaucratic elite and development aspirations of the Nigeria people,” he added.

The political economist further noted that the main reason why the budget isn’t working in Nigeria is leadership which is not leading the country in the right direction.

“What the country is dealing with is a huge financing gap; we used to earn so much and now, we are earning this much, if we pretend that nothing has changed, then we would go into an economic spiral,” he warned.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has described the 2016 federal budget as a big fraud and executive conspiracy tailored towards mortgaging the future of the nation.

According to the party, the budget clearly shows that after seven months in power Buhari and the All Progressives Congress are yet to differentiate between governance and campaign propaganda.

Chief Olufemi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation, also noted that the budget is fuelled by insincerity and shrouded in fantasy.