Development professionals together with the International Development Office in Nigeria have expressed worry over the staggering N3.8 trillion debt servicing allocation voted in the 2022 budget expenditure.
The development experts said that the amount represents 23 per cent of the entire sum for this year’s expenditure and 35 per cent of total revenue, noting that such deficit retards development in a country struggling to cope with real development needs.
The professionals are also worried that critical development sectors such as Education and Health were jointly allocated 13 per cent of the 2022 budget, stating that there is a skewed distribution of budgetary allocation against real development needs.
The experts made the remarks during the maiden edition of the Institute of Development Studies – University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (IDS-UNEC) Dialogue Lecture Series: A Symposium on the Geographical Spread of Nigeria’s 2022 Budgetary Allocations and Implementation for the Critical Sectors, held in Enugu on Thursday.
The Symposium was organized by IDS-UNEC in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Formally known as Uk-DFID, and the Development Studies Professionals Association of Nigeria (DSPAN).
In a joint communique anchored by Prof. Cyprian Onyenekenwa of IDS, the partners jointly expressed worry that Nigeria still depends on crude oil revenue to fund a significant proportion of its expenditures despite the decline in oil prices.
They revealed that debt services have been rising at N3.8trilion (a cost for servicing debt in 2022) which is 23 percent of total expenditure and 35 per cent of the total revenue.
They also rejected distortion of expenditure plans during budget execution, stressing that it has been a key problem in budget implementation in Nigeria.
They noted that only 13 per cent of the 2022 budget was given to the social sector in the proportion of education nine per cent and Health four percent, respectively.
On the budget distribution, they revealed that North Central, including FCT, Abuja has the highest budget in the Education sector at 23 per cent; followed by southwest at 19 per cent, Northwest at 18 per cent, South-South at 18 per cent, while the southeast is 13 per cent.
“The health sector expenditure plan does not reflect government interest in having an active health sector; thus, Nigeria can not achieve universal health coverage. The budget for the Agricultural sector in 2022 hover around only one per cent which makes food security impossible in Nigeria,” the partners disclosed
They added that there is a disconnect between budget allocation and budget implementation.