A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Charles Soludo, has carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2016 budget proposal as “minisucle,” and a “missed opportunity.”
Speaking on Thursday as guest speaker at the 13th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme “50 Years Since 1966: Is Nigeria Rising?” Soludo said the budget was at best copied from the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
While commending the CBN for what he called the preliminary step it has taken “in trying to dismantle the strangulating ad hoc restrictions that are hemorrhaging the economy,” he said, “My hypothesis is that if we continue along that path, the economy will be underperforming by at least 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). That is a dangerous route to go. We can do something more audacious and get the economy on track.”
He observed that the 2016 budget is not expansionary by pointing out that it is less than $150 per capita and has a 37 per cent deficit within it.
“We have never had it this way and, like before, the total recurrent budget is still higher than the total revenue. He added, “This particular budget, as presented, will have 7 per cent of its recurrent expenditure borrowed. The implication is that 7 per cent of borrowed funds are actually going into recurrent, so we are still borrowing for recurrent, as was the trend with the previous government.
“I must say that the current budget under consideration is largely a missed opportunity and in my view largely more of the same.”
Soludo said an alternative budget with different exchange rate configurations and efficient waste management efforts could fetch the country an N10trn to N15tr budget for starters.
“We should be moving towards N15trn to N20trn for the kind of transformation that is being promised,” he said.
Speaking further, the former CBN governor noted that the budget was hastily prepared, therefore largely contracted, rather than expansionary.