Monday, January 23, 2012

Budget 2012 - Broke Country, Expensive Leaders By Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai

Sahara Reporters
20 January 2012

By Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai

The attempt by President Jonathan to withdraw the 'fuel subsidy' largely to raise revenues for a wasteful government united Nigerians across ethnic, religious and social strata for over a week. One of the unintended consequences of the administration's unilateral action was bringing to the front-burner questions about the size of government, the excessive cost of governance, and the fraud and corruption in the oil sector.

Nigerians now know that their president would rather impose an overnight tax on them than undertake an orderly deregulation of the petroleum sector. They also know the difference between an isolated fuel price hike (for immediate revenue) and the policy review-legislation-independent regulation-competitive markets path that was implemented in the telecoms sector deregulation between 2000 and 2001. Nigeria will be the better for it, as we are now unanimous on seeing that some of the spending items like the near N1 billion for food in the Villa are justified and put in context.

For this reason, over the ensuing weeks, this column will undertake a detailed sectoral analysis of the 2012 budget proposal submitted by the President to the National Assembly in December 2011. Our objective is to enlighten all stakeholders on the provisions contained in the budget and suggest areas to reduce waste, question spending priorities and cut out what appears dysfunctional. Our hope is that the National Assembly will in the end make the budget work for the people of Nigeria. Today, we will look at the revenues profile for 2012 and issues arising there-from, and then throw a searchlight on the much-headlined expenditure for the security sector. Details of the budget are available online on or if for any reason unavailable,

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