Everest Amaefule, Abuja
With a debt component of N2.3tn, the 2017 budget of the Federal Government will increase the debt of burden of Nigeria, a Non-Government Organisation, Social Action has said.
In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, Head of Social Action, Abuja, Mrs. Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, said with some fiscal policies that had been implemented by the government, the 2017 budget would only leave many Nigerians poorer.
Bellonwu-Okafor said, “If the budget is indeed an instrument to gauge the policy direction of government with a view to understanding its development priorities in the areas of both economic, infrastructural and human development, then the 2017 proposed budget of the Federal Government holds very poor or no prospect of indeed bringing the country out of recession.
“For a national budget that is predicated on huge borrowing of a staggering N2.3tn consequent upon a 31 per cent deficit, it baffles to imagine how the handlers of the nation’s economy could contrive such perilous economic calculation even in the face of the obvious jeopardy and vulnerability that this nature and level of unrestrained borrowing has placed the country on.
“With pale economic indicators including runaway inflation at 18 per cent according to the National Bureau of Statistics, which has cascaded to virtually every item/product/service in all sectors of the economy and weak naira that is fast depreciating, devoting such degree of funding of the national budget to borrowing is misguided.”
She added, “In general, the 2017 budget proposal is a mis-match of the avowed policy commitment of the government especially as it concerns economic recovery and exit from recession. It is indeed difficult to see how a national budget in which 23 per cent will be used to service debt and 31 per cent will in turn be borrowed and again passed over to the following year with even greater costs in both capital and interest repayment can bring about an end to recession.