Economic expert calls for urgent change in Nigeria’s financial management

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ABUJA – The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyepere, on Thursday in Abuja called for prudent management of the nation’s resources as a strategy for sustainable growth.

Onyepere made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He said that there was need to review the policies in the country, to prevent the country from plunging into financial crisis.

“The Minister of Finance had announced a couple of days ago that the Federal Government borrowed N473 billion to pay .

“Borrowing to pay salaries is not a sustainable act. It does not make sense. It means you are living above your means.

“This you that Nigeria is not being managed prudently. We are not doing anything that is fiscally sustainable in spite of the clear provision of our laws,“he said.

He said that the Fiscal Responsibility Commission Act allowed government to borrow for capital expenditure and human development only.

Onyepere said borrowing for recurrent expenditure, whether at state or federal level, would make it difficult to finance and execute capital projects in the long run.

He decried most of the borrowings done in the country at state and federal levels because they did not follow due process.

“So the implication is that all the borrowing that has been done by both the federal and state governments are illegal under the provision of this act.

“It is that attention is drawn to this provision. It is either they work with the law or they for its amendment,’’ he said.
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Onyepere urged the incoming administration to learn from the current financial crisis in the country and plan on how to manage the nation’s resources in a sustainable manner.

He described the Federal Government’s 2015 budget as “unrealistic’’, saying that most of the expenses were recurrent in nature.

“ The budget at the federal level is about N4.5 trillion. If you look into that budget, N1.86 trillion will be spent on personnel and about 943 billion on debt servicing.

“Also in the first four of the year, N500 million was spent on oil . If the trajectory continues, about N1.5 trillion will be spent on another non-capital expenditure.

“This means that for this year, Nigeria will waste N4.3 trillion on recurrent expenditures, minus statutory transfers to MDAs, National Assembly and the rest, which is budgeted at about N300 billion,’’ he said. (NAN)
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