THE Jonathan budget of
2014 was presented to Parliament on 19 January 2014. It was presented on behalf
of the President by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and the
coordinator of the Economy. The 2014 budget contemplates expenditure of N4.6
trillion. This comprises various expenditures, including a recurrent
expenditure component of N2.4 trillion and a capital expenditure of N1.1
trillion. The balance is split between debt-servicing of N0.7 trillion,
statutory transfer of N0.4 trillion and SURE-P of N0.3 trillion.
23.7 per cent of total expenditure is for capital projects, while recurrent
expenditure stands at 76.3 per cent. Thus, the disparity skews the budget towards
consumption at the expense of infrastructure, maintenance and expansion.
Moreover, the absence of wisdom in the formulation of the budget did not stop
at the micro distortions between capital and recurrent, specific items analysis
revealed that the budget formulators have surrendered the treasury to
embezzlers and fraudsters.
Indeed, there are some
egregious matters in the budget. For example: Healthcare are herewith shown:
A.Building a VIP Wing at State House Clinic –
B.Capital Budget for Obafemi Awolowo University
Teaching Hospital: N328 million;
C.Capital Budget for University of Ilorin
Teaching Hospital: N310 million,
D.Total budget for NOMA children Hospital,
From the foregoing, you can see that the budget formulators
rated VIP Wing of the State House, Abuja higher in importance in terms priority
than two teaching hospitals, a children’s clinic and a Pediatric Institute
combined. These lopsided budgetary allocations vitiate the propriety of this
vaunted transformational budget.
To spend this
disportionate amount of our revenue on a suitably kitted and exclusively
resourced clinic is embarrassingly wasteful. The waste is all the more
disconcerting when set against the negative reality that the very important
persons set to use the clinic are known to travel abroad for medical treatment.
It is therefore questionable why money was allocated in the manner it was done.
The manner of allocation and itemization smacks of embezzlement.
In the area of defence
and national security, we believe the armed forces must be sufficiently
motivated to compensate for their onerous task of combating the Boko Haram
menace. The moneys allocated to militants cannot be justified. Training and
making ex-militants to be self employed will cost less that half of what has
been allocated to them.
Thus, this 2014 budget
proposals reward bandits, encourages militancy as against the officers and men
of our armed forces. It is reprehensible that the salaries and allowances for
30,000 militants exceeds by more than 50 per cent, the cost of providing
facilities for the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force combined. No
wonder the opposition parties are calling for the blockade of the passage of
the budget, more so when government can legally spend as much as they budgeted
But more worrisome is
the cost of reintegrating the militants which exceeded the capital expenditure
of the three service arms of the Nigeria armed forces. And what does the
monetized cash benefit of N200 million to Oladipo Diya stand for? Isn’t Diya’s
military benefit part of military pensions? Also, it is objectionable that the
budget for the presidential airfleet is more that 50 per cent of the budget of
the Nigerian Airforce. It is even more obnoxious that the budget allocation of
the presidential Air Fleet’s rehabilitation is more than 30 per cent of the
cost of rehabilitating all military barracks in the country. A backward country
like Nigeria needs urgent development in electric power, small scale industries
and youth employment. We cannot therefore fritter those moneys as government
allocated. It is an affront to the Nigerian people for this budget of
profligacy and larceny to be passed by the National Assembly.
We believe that low
human development and lack of job opportunities for the youth are responsible
for the rise of terrorism in Nigeria. Which is why full employment should be
cornerstone of the 2014 budget. This 2014 budget of 1820 pages will go down in
history as one of the worst budgets, for being totally detached from the
Nigerian reality. It is a shame that it was prepared by our Harvard educated
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as minister of finance.
This bizarre budgetary
bazaar cannot be justified by any stretch of the imagination going by the hardship
and unemployment ravaging the country now.
The allocation of N250
billion to the National Assembly is also exceptional. All the more so with 109
senators and 360 Representatives, per capita cost of maintaining them comes in
excess of N530 million per member. This is all the more objectionable in a
Nigeria where one out of five kids born today will die before his fifth
Indeed, a fair budget
should seek to eliminate reckless and larcenous planning and opt for the
allocation of resources for social security and full employment. It is
therefore necessary for the National Assembly to scrutinize the budget, pruning
it of its larcenous aims and building it into a people oriented budget. Sadly,
the recurring problems of dilapidated infrastructure in the universities and
polytechnics do not seem to have been noticed by the budget.
However, our major
problems remain untouched by the budget. Our problems are poverty which can
only be solved by full employment. That is employment for male and female,
young or old. This can be tackled by our own Marshal Plan. This plan is simply
achievable through interest free and collateral free loan programme for every
citizen willing to borrow for import substitution industries. Such programmes
have achieved miraculous economic development in China, Germany, India and
Our second problem is
corruption. This is solvable through the establishment of social security. When
there is social security for the young and aged alike, there will be no
incentive to steal or embezzle.
Let the Federal
Government institute a social security scheme for all tax payers, it does not
need to cover everybody at the beginning. Let us start it gradually such that
it covers tax payers first, we can extend it to other strata of the society as
time goes by.
Thus, unemployment and
corruption create or prolong poverty in the land. Poverty, disease and
illiteracy create conflicts, the Boko Haram war facing Nigeria in particular.
The solution therefore lies in the twin policies of social security scheme to
take care of every citizen from cradle to the grave and a Marshall full
employment Plan by which Federal Government provides interest free, collateral
free loans for anyone wishing to borrow to establish a business of his own. It is
trite economics to have separate banks for industry or agriculture. What it is
required to develop the country is to provide loan facilities for every
category or sector of the economy.
We urge the National
Assembly to rewrite the budget and put relevant indices there.
Ogunmupe is a columnist with The Guardian.
Let Nigeria Learn From
BY BAYO OGUNMUPE
AGOOD leader must set goals for himself and the nation he leads.
Which is why the Nigerian leader should create a niche for his country in the comity
Although we are currently grouped with the MINT countries, we
should strive to a better position particularly within the group being occupied
by our contemporaries. We are now grouped with the MINT nations of Mexico,
Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. All things being equal, Nigeria ought to belong
to the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It is only natural that if we cannot be counted among the G7
economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA, we should be with
the BRINCS, then there being Nigeria. If we are to badger into BRICS, we should
imitate its leading light-Brazil. More so when we share similarities. We are a
former colony like Brazil. In fact, Brazil’s facts file is entrancing. Brazil has
a population of 201 million as at 2011. She is 86 per cent urbanized. Their
citizens speak Portuguese as the official language while Spanish and English
are widely spoken as well.
But unlike Nigeria, Brazil is 74 per cent Roman Catholic and 15
per cent Protestant. Brazil is a federal republic with a presidential system.
She has 25 states compared to our 36. Brazil became independent in September
1822, it became a republic in 1889. Education is compulsory up till the age of
14 and there is 90 per cent literacy in Brazil. She has the largest crude oil
reserves in the world.
The nation which already meets many of its energy needs through
biofuels reported huge offshore oil finds in 2007. Brazil is on its way to
displacing France as the world’s fifth largest economy, coming after the United
States, China, Japan and Germany. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is larger
than those of the other Latin American countries combined. Brazil’s GDP grew by
seven per cent in 2010. Brazil’s aerospace firm: Embraer is the third largest
aircraft manufacturing company in the world, coming after Boeing and the
Brazil is a very peaceful country, never having fought a way or
skirmish since 1870. Compared with fellow BRICS countries, Brazil’s zero
allocation to defence differs from Russia’s $76.7 billion; India’s $46 billion;
and China’s $126 billion. Basically, the BRICS are developing countries but who
are believed to be at a similar stage of development but still considered to be
more developed than Nigeria’s MINT group. In fact the BRICS are expected to
overtake the G7 economies by 2027.
The BRICS occupy a quarter of the world’s land area and more
than 40 per cent of the world’s population in 2010. However, they accounted for
only 25 per cent of the world’s gross national income. Another acronym: MINT
coined in 2013 lumped Nigeria with Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey as nations in
similar level of development. Though Brazil isn’t in the first world, because
90 per cent of her roads are unpaved and with pervasive slums, yet she does
have plans to move up.
Unlike Nigeria, Brazil is quick to adopt new technologies. Her
90 per cent literacy lifts her tops in Information and Communications
technology, compared to Nigeria’s 60 per cent literacy. Brazil’s network
equipment comes from different sources: Cisco Systems (U.S.), Juniper (U.S.),
Huawei (China), Alcatel (France). However, the U.S. National Security Agency’s
leak through Edward Snowden, has caused Brazil to re-examine its ICT
Snowden’s allegations are that the United States is snooping on
other countries. This prompted Brazil’s President to cancel a state visit to
Washington in protest. What is more, Brazil is now empowering local
communications companies for its network procurement. Brazil is now putting her
resources in small scale internet companies. Thus, the winners are Brazil’s
Datacom and Padtec, both of which already have business relations with the
state owned Telecommunications Brazilian.
Brazil’s local content policy is geared towards ensuring
protection against back-door security holes, a potentially leakage source for
foreign made products. What is more, there are innovations coming out of Brazil
in this new millennium. Embraer, Brazil’s aerospace firm flies own home grown
technology, a feat that China is trying to achieve. Brazil is now on the path
of building her first geostationary satellite, enhancing the country’s
remote-imaging and weather prediction capabilities.
Brazil also prides herself with her online voting and banking
facilities. Her information technology sector earned her $37 billion in 2012.
Stefanini, Brazil’s telecommunications giant operates in various countries
including Canada, China, India, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. Stefanini
is expanding all over the world. It established a new software centre in China
Apontador is Brazil’s leading geo-location service company. It
is developing tools which enable other companies see how users interact with
their products. Predicta is also well ranked in Brazil as a tools developing
company. The main point is that Brazil is aggressively pursuing the development
of local technology as against Nigeria’s over-dependence on importation. In
fact by comparison, taken seriatim, literacy level is the catalyst for
development. Brazil is advancing because of her 90 per cent literacy rate. For
Nigeria, our 60 per cent literacy rate and over 14 million unemployed put our
nation out of touch with development reality.
Thus, like Brazil we should open our doors for industrial
development through a coordinated small and medium scale industrial strategy.
Wherefore, we should enunciate a Marshall Plan in which various programmes are
combined to achieve full employment. For example, both small scale enterprises
enhancement loans scheme of the National Directorate of Employment and AMPLE
group investment scheme should merge under the proposed plan. This plan must
target import substitution schemes as means of full employment. This is the way
we can move to the next development level by imitating Brazil’s small and
medium scale development programme.
Ogunmupe is a columnist withThe Guardian
Title: Generations’ Power
Publishers: Strategic Book Publishing, Houston, 2013
Author: Bayo Baker
Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe
The Book:Generations’ Power
contains success secrets that will shape you into an incurable optimist.
Therein, you will also find theladder that you can climb to overcome various
life challenges. Written in verse by Adebayo Baker, a branding and project
development specialist, born a Nigerian with roots from the islands of the
Bahamas. Generations’ Power is inspirational, enabling you to swim the oceans
It doesn’t matter if
you are already successful, fulfilled and your life is going great, you still
need this book to break through your comfort zone, for lifelong learning is the
prescription for progress. This book has 210 verses, 242 pages, hardcover with
glossy print. Author Baker introduced the book with prayers. He thanked the
Almighty for providing him with the talent to square up with his circumstances.
Baker sees writing this book as an assignment from his Maker.
Baker says there are
three types of people. Those who make things happen; those who watch things
happen and those who wonder what is happening. He urges you to strive to become
the first category of those who make things happen. The fifth verse of this
book exhorts you to improve your faith and focus by surrounding yourself with
people who will add value to your life. Another verse says you are not a leader
worth being followed if you have no conscience. You should be able to tell the
In verse 10, the
author avers that you should never be a cheerleader to other champions all your
life. You should have an exalting opinion of your future greatness, by becoming
your own biggest fan. But you must imbibe the principle of letting things go.
Because when you let go, you can expect something better to replace the past.
Whatever is yours and you deserve will always stay with yous or come back to
you. Think create and sell ideas because developments always stem from ideas.
And do the right things according to your instincts. Never be bothered by what
bricks others are throwing at you. The great man is he who has been able to use
the bricks thrown at him to build bridges for his own fulfillment.
Verse 25 of
Generations Power states that when you are nailed to the wall by life, the
world might pretend with offers of help, but the lesson is that you should
never put your hopes in any one person. But that you should put your hopes in
God, Almighty. To do otherwise could be disastrous.
According to the
author, a successful business is strictly business. Love and business do not
work together. But you may intimately love your business. You must ultimately
be in love with your business commitments.
Giving back to the
people is the theme of verse 27. The richest men always give back to the
people. So does Bill Gates, one who was once the richest man in the world. And
in order to be a survivor, never depend on anyone, and never expect the loyalty
of anyone. But you have one to lean on, the one everlasting father, the
Almighty God. And that is your prime survival secret. That with God all things are
motivators of life is the text of Verse 30. Here, Mr. Baker avers that passion,
burning passion and patience should make you tick as a business person. He
contends that if you chose money as the main object of your endeavour, then you
might fail, because money can only give you temporary satisfaction. The purpose
of reading is Baker’s next preoccupation. Here, he says that the proper parameters of
reading are to know, discover, improve and make positive impact on people. That
through reading you can transform your life, transform others and the world at
large. He admonishes you to read leisurely and seriously every day. You should
also initiate a reading campaign.
At verse 40, the
author says it isn’t by body size, frame and might that you make it your
Canaan. He says your brilliance, opportunity and your time management are the
keys granting you access to making it in life. But you are irresponsible,
greedy and thoughtless if you cannot share success secrets garnered over the
years. With your secrets, you can inspire, empower and give for the development
of the common humanity. Baker avows that the man who wins is the man who thinks
he can and is determined to win.
In verse 47, the
author asks, what do you seek God for? He answers by saying what we should seek
God for are miracles, mercies, favour, grace, happiness and longevity.
Thereafter, he admonishes you to encourage no evil and do no evil. Thus, the
worst things is for you to keep sitting next to the wrong people. He therefore
enjoins you to choose your friends wisely. Moreover, you are urged to coin for
yourself a good name. For names are your selling image. Perfect names win you
fondness, opportunities, favour, clients and profits. Perception is more
important than facts. Which is why your names have exponential value with other
goodies following your great name.
On marriage, Baker
enjoins you to give a breathing space for your spouse, if you want to enjoy,
improve and prolong your relationship. A friendship is desirable when it is
workable, so nurture a relationship by making it mutually desirable. Stop
stalking a desired friend endlessly. Otherwise you become an unwanted stalker.
There are others who value and want you. Go get them and stop the tomfoolery!
The author’s full
names are Adebayo Baker. He is a branding and project development specialist.
He makes a living as a writer and consultant. Being Internet savvy, Baker is a
website designer, erudite scholar and literary critic. Baker is variously
skilled in out of the box creations and planning. He is involved with Care
Partnership Network, a non-profit association seeking to meet the vital needs
for development, empowerment and advancement of children, youth and
under-employed families. Baker is a global citizen, having been born a Nigerian
with Bahanian roots.