‘Economic Indices show 2024 budget cannot drive economic development’

AVAILABLE economic indicators, have shown that the N27. 5 trillion 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu will not spur economic development.

The 2024 budget proposed an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is N9.92 trillion naira, while debt service is projected to be N8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is N8.7 trillion.

A business advisory consultant, Wole Ogundare,in his reaction to the budget said, the projected growth gross domestic product (GDP) is lower when compared to the population growth rate.

Ogundare, who tagged the appropriation ‘budget of coasting along,’ said any budget of hope will be one where the GDP growth rate is around 7 to 10 per cent.

“When you look at the assumptions, the first thing I typically look at is the growth rate. So the macroeconomic framework tend to force you to look at the growth rate. The President projected a 3.76 per cent growth rate; if you look at that growth rate, how does it really make sense?

“You compare it to the population growth rate in Nigeria. Our population growth rate today is about 2.5, so if you look at 2.5 population growth rate relative to a 3.76 GDP growth, it tells you immediately that this is not a budget of hope, it is a budget of coasting along. Let us just coast along for now.

Commenting further on the proposed budget, the Managing Director of Cowry Asset Management Ltd. Johnson Chukwu, said the proposed budget is not too different from others before it, lamenting the continued increase of recurrent expenditure.

“We have not seen any strategic initiative that will bring down recurrent expenditure. We have seen a consistent increase in the recurrent expenditure of the government because the structure on which you incur recurrent expenditure is being expanded,” Chukwu said.

President Tinubu said, the 2024 budget will ensure micro-economic stability, poverty reduction, and greater access to social security, amongst others.

Nigeria also struggles to meet its own Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota which forms the basis for budget benchmark, as the oil rich region is constantly under the siege of oil theft.

    This development, will also affect its macro-economic indices,analysts warn.

    The ICIR, has earlier reported that the budgetary provision of 1.78 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production will fall below the benchmark projected in 2024 and lower the country’s revenue prospect for the year.

    An investment banker with Stanbic IBTC,Charles Ademuluyi, decried the heavy padding of the budget each year, leaving less funds for economic development.

    “There is no year the Senate will not increase the proposed budget by the president. They keep smuggling in projects that will inflate the total budget. But we as a people are to blame because we hardly ask questions or insist on accountability from these elected representatives. How can some projects keep getting allocations since 1999 and yet nobody ask why. So, we will keep seeing increased budgetary allocations with less impact on lives because we do not care how the taxpayer’s money is lavisciously spent by our Senators and other government officials,” Ademuluyi said.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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