BudgIT has raised concerns over what it describes as the Federal Government’s low investments in key sectors of the economy, such as education, health, power, works and housing, women and humanitarian Affairs, among others.
In a statement at the weekend, the organisation said now was the right time to prioritise national and social development, as well as sustainable improvement of the lives, livelihood and general welfare of Nigerian citizens.
Citing data available on the FG’s open treasury portal, the organisation pointed out that current investment in social sectors is not adequate enough to cater to the needs of Nigerians and actual expenditures on procurement and financing of projects are not sufficient.
It stated: “For context, between June and September 2020, the Federal Government has made a total payment of N42.73 billion and N51.31 billion for procurement and projects in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, respectively. Within the same period, payments totaling N105.97 billion were made under the ministry of finance which includes payments for line items we consider less productive.
“An example of such is a whopping N1.25 billion paid for the digitisation of the Supreme Court which we consider a large sum when compared with a meager N7.7 million paid for the upgrading of the Federal Medical Center Yobe State’s Physiotherapy Complex. This level of spending will make it extremely difficult to provide even the most basic of services.”
Specifically, BudgIT’s Senior Research Analyst, Olaniyi Olaleye, stated that the organisation “is concerned that budgeted figures may not be representative of the actual amount spent on social sectors as there continues to be a gap between budgeting and implementation.”
“Moreover, in some instances, it is unclear whether the budgetary allocations were actually spent on these sectors, seeing that our previous analysis has shown that some of these payments end up in private accounts.”
The organisation also noted that the education sector had not received adequate investment from the government, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
It stated: “Experts have raised concerns about the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19, which means that Nigeria urgently needs new investments in infrastructure that can enable distant learning opportunities. This will improve learning experiences in the short and long term.”
“BudgIT also believes that COVID-19 has revealed the importance of investing heavily in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery and the health sector. Huge financial resources are needed to expand health services and improve the quality of life. Investment in health services should also receive tangible attention in the public investment portfolio.
“BudgIT recommends that the Federal Government should increase allocations and funding to the key social sectors, and urges the Federal Government to offer an expansion of funding to make basic education and healthcare accessible to even the poorest in Nigeria.”