A financial expert, Prof Uche Uwaleke, yesterday said that the Federal Government’s decision to reduce the size of the 2019 budget to N8.73 trillion would reduce inflation threat.
Uwaleke, Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University Keffi, said in Lokoja that the decision was wise considering the country’s present fiscal realities.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Oct. 24 approved a budgetary proposal of N8.73 trillion for 2019 fiscal year, N400 billion lower than the 2018 budget which stood at N9.12 trillion.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, made the disclosure when he addressed State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting.
Udoma said the council also approved the 2019/2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
According to him, the MTEF/FSP is designed to translate the strategic development objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to realistic and implementable budget framework for the medium term.
He said the key assumptions highlights being proposed for 2019 budget included oil price benchmark of 60 dollars per barrel, oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day, exchange rate of N305/1 dollar, and GDP growth rate of 3.01 per cent.
Uwaleke said that the decision to slow down government’s expansionary spending, especially in an electioneering year would pose less threat to inflation.
He added that the decision would reduce the fiscal deficit to Gross Domestic Product ratio in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) target.
According to him, the reduction will curtail government borrowing in view of the present huge debt service burden which is clearly unsustainable at over 65 per cent of revenue.
“I think the decision to scale down on the size of the 2019 budget is wise considering the present fiscal realities in Nigeria.
“The only worrying aspect of the proposed 2019 fiscal framework is the significant reduction in capital expenditure,” Uwaleke said.
He noted that the 2017 budget implementation experience coupled with the revenue challenges being encountered in the execution of the 2018 budget called for a conservative approach to next year’s budget.
“For example, the 2017 budget implementation report recently released by the Budget Office speaks of adverse variances in key budget targets due mainly to shortfalls in actual revenue receipts resulting in huge fiscal deficit.
“The same scenario is playing out with regard to the 2018 budget in respect of which the Federal Government has just sought the approval of the National Assembly for about N2.8 billion to finance the budget.
“Much as the increase in recurrent spending ostensibly to accommodate the implementation of the minimum wage is justified, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance should intensify efforts at reducing MDAs overheads and avoidable wastages,” he said.
Monarch Cautions Youths Against Violence, Other Social Vices
The Gom Mama of Mama Chiefdom in Nasarawa, Alhaji Mustapha Zubairu, has advised youths to shun violence and all other negative tendencies in their interest and for societal development.
Zubairu gave the advice yesterday when he received Wamba/Farin-Ruwa Youths Movement residing in Lafia, the state capital.
The traditional ruler said that if youths and other Nigerians could shun violence at all times, it would go a long way in not only promoting peace but would also ensure speedy development of the country.
“I want to thank you for the visit and for forming this group aimed at promoting unity and peaceful co-existence among yourselves and other Nigerians.
“This is because peace is the necessary requirement for the development of any society.
“Peace is priceless and non-negotiable; as no society or nation will achieve meaningful progress and development without peace.
2023: Buhari’ll Handover To Northerner, APC Chieftain
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Jackson Ojo, has advised the South to forget their dream of producing the President of Nigeria in 2023, saying at the expiration of his tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari would handover to another northerner.
Ojo stated this, yesterday, in Abuja in a chat with our correspondents.
The APC chieftain while counselling the South to build a common front ahead of the next election cycle noted that South lacks the capacity to politically engage the North in a battle of supremacy.
In his words, politicians of South-West extraction currently agitating to replace Buhari in 2023 lack the visibility and national acceptance to make good their dream saying, “who is there in the South that has the national clout? There are some people in the South-West that are making noise today, wanting to be President.
“The truth is that they cannot be President. That is it! Mark my word! APC Presidential candidate in 2023 will emerge from the north. The South-West will be given the Vice Presidential slot. And if the PDP takes its candidate from the South, then they have given the opportunity to the APC to win again. The South does not have the political capacity to fight the North.”
Justifying his reason for rating the South so poorly, Ojo, who doubled as coordinator, Yoruba Youth Alliance, added that the North has since left the South behind in terms of togetherness and unity; factors he claimed would determine who gets the Presidency in 2023.
He continued: “The people of the South are agitating to be President of Nigeria in 2023. Is it by mere verbal expression? The North has 19 states including the FCT. The South has 17. There is no political synergy between the South-East, South-South and South-West.
Wike Commends Osinbajo’s Role In Buhari’s Govt
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has commended the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo for the successes recorded by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) in empowering the poor and improving the welfare of beneficiaries.
Wike, who spoke during the Great Minds Summit in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where Osinbajo was the Special Guest of Honour, said the Vice President connected with all Nigerians everywhere he went.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, Wike said Osinbajo has been doing a great work for the nation, hence deserve commendations.
He said, “Your Excellency, when our Daddy in the Lord, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Adeboye, was speaking about how we are going to be from great might to greater might and how we should use this to help the poor, immediately I thought about our Vice President and all the good work he has been doing in this great Nation.
“I remember vividly the effects of the Social Investment Programmes all over this country and Local Government Areas. I recall on an occasion, I had the privilege of riding with him (VP) in Bonny where I represented His Excellency, the Governor, at the flag off of the Bonny-Bodo road and we got to a section of the road and there were so many men and women carry N-Power placards and in all his humility, he stopped the convoy, he needed to come down and talk to them and ask them how the programme had impacted their lives.”
Expressing delight in Osinbajo’s presence in the State, the governor said he believed that the Vice President “is a man whom God has given the vision and he is giving to the country what he knows, what the country should have as his own contribution of what God has blessed him to be.”
He added, “We are very proud and happy, honoured to have him in Rivers State and in this part of the State. In fact, Marine Base is a good place Your Excellency to come and talk to us, because he was asking me, ‘what section of this town is this?
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