From Fred Itua, (Abuja) Merit Ibe and Chinwendu Obienyi
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, sent a fresh request to the National Assembly, to review the already approved Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) upwards.
In 2015, when President Buhari presented his first budget to a joint session of the National Assembly, his inherited budget was around N4 trillion.
With the new request, the estimate for next year’s expenditure has been raised to N16.45 trillion far beyond the already approved N13.98 trillion.
The proposed revision is coming barely 48 hours to the presentation of the 2022 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly billed for tomorrow.
In the revised budget, Buhari has raised the budget deficit to N6.6 trillion, which is higher than the National Assembly’s approved deficit estimate of N5.62 trillion. Security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Poverty Eradication Programme, among others, are expected to get hundreds of billions of Naira in the revised version.
The letter read: “The FGN Aggregate Expenditure (including GOEs and Project-tied Loans) is projected to increase by N2.47 trillion, from N13.98 trillion to N16.45 trillion.
Commenting on the size of the 2022 budget, Dr Muda Yusuf, Economist and CEO
Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), said it is a reflection of the fact that government expenditure had continued to grow over these years. The clamour for a reduction in the cost of governance has not yielded much result. The implication is that budget deficit would continue to grow, so will our debt stock.
But we, however need to be reminded that these are nominal figures. If we discount for inflation, the increase may not be as high as it looks. Nonetheless, there is need to check expenditure growth, especially with regard to recurrent spending.
Also reacting, Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Apapa branch, Frank Onyebu, noted
“My candid advice is that government should assemble a more robust, more diverse economic team, a team with an in-depth knowledge of an evolving economy like ours. This team should consist of the best in the various sectors of the economy – people who have the capacity to add value, and not just people with political leanings.