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Experts Criticise 2014 Budget - Business - Nairaland

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Experts Criticise 2014 Budget by olas24u(f): 8:20pm On Dec 27, 2013
inancial experts and civil society activists have condemned the huge allocations to recurrent expenditure in the 2014 budget presented to the National Assembly last week.
Some experts in Lagos describe the 72 per cent allocation to recurrent expenditure in the 2014 federal government budget proposal as lacking direction and incapable of addressing critical needs of the country.
The budget presented by the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on December 19, has total sum of N4.6 trillion.
A breakdown of the proposed budget showed that N3.7 trillion, representing 72 per cent, covers recurrent expenditure, while N1.1 trillion was earmarked for capital projects.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the budget would focus on job creation and inclusive growth.
Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said that the economy would not grow with less emphasis on capital expenditure.
Kurfi said the challenges of infrastructure would not be addressed with N1.1 trillion earmarked for capital projects.
He said that the nation needed capital expenditure for the economy to experience meaningful growth and development.
Kurfi also said that the oil benchmark of 77.7 dollars per barrel should have been 80 dollars per barrel in line with oil prices in the international market.
Mr Sehinde Adenagbe, the Managing Director, Standard Union Securities Ltd., expressed dissatisfaction with the late presentation of the budget.
Adenagbe called for quick passage of the budget which he regarded as the “road map for economic activities”.
He said that companies needed the budget for decision making on investments.
Mr Harrison Owoh, Managing Director of HJ Trust & Investment Ltd., said that the budget proposal failed to address critical sectors of the economy.
Owoh said that it was disheartening that the bulk of the nation’s budget would be used for wage payment instead of capital projects.
He said that the federal government should be bothered by the sufferings of the masses and ensure the provision of basic social amenities.
In a reaction to the budget highlights, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Auwal Musa Rafsanjani said from the outlook of the budget, there is no way allocating 27 percent to capital expenditure which is the special area where jobs and infrastructural development will happen.
“It is not a budget that will create jobs, it is not a budget that will alleviate poverty but a budget for sharing money and looting as usual. I cannot understand how sensitive areas like health, agriculture and water resources are not given top priority in the budget,” Rafsanjani told Daily Trust in an interview.
“It is clearly meant for looting; for some people to ‘legitimately’ steal these monies...Its is not a budget that will support the economy in any way.”
Also, the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) expressed concern that the 2014 national budget was too much skewed to make meaningful impact on the lives of most Nigerians.
The president of the association, Mr Bala Ka’oje, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that only 7 per cent of the N14.6 trillion proposed in the budget was earmarked for capital development.
“APBN has checked and analysed the whole thing and have came out with a position on the 2014 budget.
“With a bench mark of 77.5 dollars per barrel and only 7 per cent of the budget for capital development, it means a whopping 73 per cent is for recurrent expenditure.
“Budgeting in this way does not give room for any meaningful development of the nation,” he said.
Ka’oje said that setting aside of N13.5 trillion for recurrent expenditure meant that only 2 per cent of the population would benefit from the budget.
He noted that the 2013 budget was also ``structured in that way’’.
He noted that continued structuring of the nation’s budget toward recurrent spending will impact negatively on the common man.
“The National Assembly should kindly look into this recurrent issue critically. It has become a recurrent decimal in Nigeria, whereby you have a very huge recurrent and nothing for capital, which is not a good, balanced budget,” he said.
He said that the common man would benefit the more from a balanced budget especially when driven by employment opportunities.
Ka’oje said more funds should be allocated to boost agriculture, housing and health care infrastructure to generate employment and empower Nigerians at the grassroots.
He advised the federal government to block areas of leakages in the system and ensure that revenues accruable into the Federation Account were captured.http://www.dailytrust.info/index.php/business/13114-experts-criticise-2014-budget

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