The erstwhile Accountant General of the Federation and past president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Kayode Naiyeju, has dissected the 2019 budget and found it shabby and unrealistic.
He made this known at the weekend during the 2nd annual tax seminar organised by the institute in Lagos.
While x-raying the federal budget with a view to ascertaining its feasibility and viability for 2019, Naiyeju maintained that it was not impossible for the budget to fail like budgets of previous years, owing to errors and omissions as well as misplaced priorities.
According to him, it is precarious for any nation’s projected expenditure to exceed its income in a budget, adding that low fund earmarked for capital projects is unacceptable and would weaken the economy.
He also decried the Federal Government’s habitual borrowing and debt servicing, which has done more harm to the country. “I see this budget as budget of the executives and legislators with exclusion of the people because there is no sign of expanding our sources of revenue, so this budget cannot grow nor develop our economy.”
Naiyeju also berated professional bodies in the country for their lackadaisical attitude towards issues of national concern, calling on ICAN, CIA, NIM, CITN, lawyers and professionals to wake up and get involved in the administration of Nigeria.
“Almost all professional institutes in Nigeria have members in the National Assembly and the Executive. It will be incongruous and parlous if we allow non-professionals to rubbish the destiny of the country through maladministration, which is evident in their shabby budget and other financial statements,” he asserted.
In their presentations, tax consultants, Dr. Biodun Adedipe and Femi Ademola, who spoke on “Accelerating Growth for Economic and Social Transformation”, and “Defining the Critical Minimum Growth Catalysation” respectively, maintained that the 2019 fiscal budget is not unlikely to fail given too may misplaced and wrong assumptions.
According to them, education, health, agriculture and security, which are the major pillars upon which nations develop their economies are given meager portions in the national budget. They said the budget, which has always been based on assumptions over the years without achieving much, ought to have been changed and prepared based on realities on ground.
“It’s unfortunate that our education sector is relegated in the national budget. Out of N8.83 trillion, a paltry sum of N462 billion which is about 7.02 per cent of the total budget is earmarked for education against the minimum requirement of 26 per cent as spelt out by UNESCO.”