Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why federal budgets are unsustainable, by el-Rufai

27 September 2011

In Special Report ..
Former Minister of the Federal Capital Ministry, FCT, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, presented this paper entitled ‘Perspectives on the cost of governance in a democracy’ at the biennial conference of the Nigeria Guild of Editors in Benin City last week.

The Unsustainable Cost of Governance in Nigeria

In an article that got me arrested on 2nd July, I drew attention of Nigerians to the fact that in 2011, every Nigerian – all 162 million of us – man, woman and child will pay the federal government the sum of N27,685 each for the running of government – this is the budget for the year divided by our population, with 75% of it going into non-productive, non-capital spending. I added that what we cannot afford, the government will borrow on our behalf to pay for its activities.

This is because our entire oil earnings for the year cannot pay the salaries and allowances of politicians and public sector workers and their ‘overheads’ – their tea, coffee, travel and estacode.

Almost the entire amount of the capital budget for this year is scheduled to be borrowed – that is what they mean by ‘budget deficit’! Whether you know or not, every hour, 24/7, the federal government spends slightly over N381 million on our behalf, on its staff, offices, vehicles and the like, and none of this goes to build power plants, roads or railways!

It costs nearly 2.5 million naira on the average annually for the upkeep of each of the federal government’s nearly one million public sector workers – in the police, civil service, military and para-military services and teachers in government schools and institutions. Whether this amount justifies the service that is rendered is left for Nigerians to decide.

In all, the 49 line Ministries, Departments and Agencies mentioned in the 2011 Appropriations Act will each cost an average of N49.49 billion to run.  That is why we should ask questions when ministries are created and more ministers are screened by the Senate and sworn in! Each one costs billions!

Why do federal ministries, departments and agencies cost so much?

Read on ...

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