Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 10 June 2016 | 3,107 times
Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial zone, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has said that Nigeria would never develop until government begins to slash downward, recurrent expenditure less than 50 per cent, regardless of economic consequences, stressing that capital expenditures must be focused upon.
Bruce spoke on Thursday during the celebration of one year anniversary of the 8th Senate, while taking a critical look at government’s activities, in the last one year, in giving undue priority to recurrent expenditure in the country. He added: “Budgets must be structured in a manner that at least 50 percent attention must be paid to capital projects.”
According to him, “Recurrent expenditure is a fixed amount and, regardless of what happened, you have to pay salaries. So, as a country of 170 million people, the civil servants in Nigeria are only 2.2 million. If 2.2 million people consume 75 per cent of our entire budget, then we have a serious problem. What is going to happen is that Nigeria can never develop, and that is the fact of life.
“If we want Nigeria to develop, recurrent expenditure should never exceed 50 percent as a starting point regardless of the consequences.”
Ben Bruce said despite the fact that the Senate is celebrating one year in office, he is troubled by the situation of the Nigerian Economy because a lot of things have gone wrong, and there is no time to fix the problem.
“Everybody complains that the price of oil has caused the decline of economy. But everybody must understand that the oil sector contributes 50 per cent to the GDP. The GDP cannot all of a sudden have a negative growth of minus 36 per cent. And if we have this again this quarter, we go into a recession,” he added.
Continuing, he lamented that Nigeria is in a very big problem, coupled with the fact that, after one year, the budget has not been implemented as the Minister of Finance has confirmed, expressing disappointment that “it is very unlikely the budget would be implemented fully this year because we have only six months to go.”
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that recurrent expenditure is not higher than capital expenditure, in the 2017 Budget.
In his words: “It is ridiculous for us to talk about capital expenditure of N1.5 trillion in a N6 trillion budget when, in fact, we should be talking about the N6 trillion budget, the capital expenditure budget should be the only budget.”
In his comment on population growth in the country, he said Nigeria is problematic, coupled with the fact that 18,000 babies are born every day, more than the whole of Western Europe combined, and population growth with the declining economic growth is a terrible combination to have.
“We cannot survive as a nation if all we do is pay salaries for 56 years. It is a very serious problem and here is a subject nobody talks about, population explosion, 18,000 babies born every single day and these are excluding babies born from rape victims. We want money for capital expenditure, health care system, education, solve problems. This is a serious problem.”
•Photo shows Senator Ben Bruce.
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