1st December, 2010
The disclosure on Monday by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, that theÂ actual capital spending for the 2010 budget was just about 43 per cent as at OctoberÂ is, to say the least, disheartening.
It shows how unconcerned and insensitive government is on the plight of NigeriansÂ and in solving the developmental and infrastructural challenges Nigeria is facing.
According to the Finance Minister, as at 31 October 2010, less than N2.3 trillion ofÂ the 2010 budget had been released for implementation.
Late last year, the National Assembly passed N4.608 trillion as budget for the 2010Â fiscal year. The budget was based on projected Federal revenue of N3.086 trillionÂ resulting in a deficit of N1.521 trillion.
The overall expenditure profile was N529 billion higher than the initialÂ N4.079Â trillion budget originally presented by late President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua in NovemberÂ 2009.
The passage of the new figure followed the adoption of the report of the CommitteesÂ on Appropriation of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The budget was based on an oil benchmark of $67 per barrel as against $57 initiallyÂ proposed by Yarâ€™Adua and predicated on estimated production of 2.350 million barrelsÂ of crude per day as against 2.088 million barrel initially proposed.
Revenue projection was retained at an exchange rate of N150 to the US dollar asÂ originally proposed by Yarâ€™Adua.
After the passage of the budget, Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, SenatorÂ Iyiola Omisore, declared that the increase was to provide ample funds forÂ infrastructure development in some critical sectors, which were not adequatelyÂ provided for in the initial appropriation bill.
However, a year after the budget was passed and only weeks to the end of 2010, lessÂ than half of the funds has been made available for infrastructure. This is far fromÂ being laudable.
Nigeria is facing challenges of gargantuan proportions. Our infrastructure in mostÂ sectors of the economy have virtually collapsed. Our roads are death traps. TheÂ challenges in education and healthcare are overwhelming. Virtually, all sectors ofÂ the economy are in dire need of funds to function properly.
As a country, we do not seem to have enough money to solve our numerous problems. ItÂ is therefore preposterous that money is returned to the national treasury instead ofÂ being used for what it was budgeted for.
We condemn the poor implementation of the 2010 budget and call on government toÂ avoid a repeat next year.