The President and Chairman of Council, Institute of Directors, (IoD) Nigeria, Chris Okunowo, has expressed worry over the budgetary allocation to the health sector of Nigeria in the proposed 2020 fiscal budget.
He expressed the disappointment recently in Lagos at the institute’s Fellows’ Night & Investiture, with the theme: “A Critical Analysis of the FGN 2020 Budget Proposal”, saying that the extent of the proposed deficit financing for 2020 raises very critical challenges.
Okunowo said that over the years the budget allocation for health sector and education has been worrisome.
“l know many Nigerians and directors alike have expressed deep concerns over the capacity of the allocations of N46b for health to address the enormous challenges in the health sector in particular.”
He stressed that over the decades, economic reforms in Nigeria have been multifaceted, added that the concern of directors and business leaders is that despite several reforms and economic frameworks introduced by the federal government, Nigerian economy still suffer stunted growth and not in conformity with the country’s resources both human and material.
However, he noted, “the first issue I have with the budget proposal is that the deficit is in the sum of N2.18tn, and it is to be financed mainly by new foreign and domestic borrowing, privatisation proceeds, signature bonuses and draw-downs on loans secured for specific purposes.
“The 2020 proposals represent an 11 per cent increase when compared vi-sa-viz the 2019 appropriation of N9.12tn. The proposed retained revenue is N8.155tn and a deficit of N2.18tn which is 1.52 per cent of the GDP. The key assumptions are the benchmark price of $57 per barrel of crude oil; daily oil production of 2.18 million barrels per day (mbpd) and an exchange rate of N305 to 1USD. The real GDP is expected to grow at 2.93 per cent while inflation rate is projected at 10.81 per cent. Aside this, the 48 billion allocation for education sector is quite appalling”.
On his part, the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, who stressed that the Budget was designed to sustain growth, create jobs and advance the delivery of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 goals.