2014 Budget: Senators criticise reliance on foreign economic policies

The senators said the continued application of foreign economic theories to the Nigerian situation was not yielding the desired result

Senators on Wednesday in Abuja faulted Nigeria’s over reliance on western economic theories as debate on the 2014 budget entered its second day.
The senators said the continued application of foreign economic theories to the Nigerian situation was not yielding the desired result.
In his contribution, the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi), said for the Nigerian economy to yield any positive result, the country must abandon foreign economic theories and focus on home grown ones.
“Our economy is a third world economy, we cannot continue to bring western economic theories to address our peculiar situation and expect positive results,” Ningi said.
According to him, Nigeria must emulate other emerging economies that have replaced all the prescriptive western economic theories with home grown approaches that engender economic growth and prosperity.
Senator Danjuma Goje (PDP-Gombe) also expressed the need for Nigerian budgets to be tailored to address the country’s peculiar problems and not to satisfy western ways of assessing budget performance.
Goje decried the lack of provision in the budget to address the issues of armed robbery, kidnapping and other vices, adding that it was the government’s responsibility to protect the citizens.
On his part, Senator Smart Adeyemi (PDP-Kogi), said that Nigeria’s economic needs were quite peculiar and unique, adding that adopting the western approach to addressing them would not be effective.
“The Minister of Finance must be told to review her World Bank/IMF economic policy because it cannot fit into our own circumstances. It is not working in our best interest,” Adeyemi said.
Senator Ita Enang (PDP-Akwa Ibom) decried what he described as fiscal rascality of certain federal institutions due to the failure of the Finance Ministry to enforce the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Enang said that the institutions were acting independently, generating revenue and disbursing same without recourse to the National Assembly for necessary appropriation.
For Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP-Imo): “The 2014 budget is very reassuring and refreshing as the government’s proposal is consistent with the transformation agenda.”
Uzodinma said that the budget should be forwarded to the relevant committees for further legislative work.
Also contributing, Senator Ayogu Eze said that the budget was a well focused one, directed at creating jobs.
Eze, however, noted that the problem of budgets in the country was that they had failed to match revenue projections to actual revenue generated.
He said: “This year, all energies should be geared toward generating enough revenue to create more jobs just as the private sector should be empowered to generate jobs.
“I urge my colleagues not to waste too much time blowing grammar here and move into the field to ensure the budget is fully implemented.”
Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano) decried the fact that budget implementation in the country over the years had never risen above 50 per cent.
According to Gaya, for Nigerians to benefit from any budget, the capital expenditure must be higher than the recurrent expenditure.
He said that the only reason Rivers State House of Assembly was able to pass its budget within one hour was because the capital expenditure was higher than the recurrent expenditure.
For Senator Olushola Adeyeye (APC-Osun), there is so much confusion in the financial management of the country, which has made it difficult to ascertain the true state of the economy.
Adeyeye said government agencies were providing conflicting details of finances and that the budget had shown a betrayal of the citizens.
“APC and PDP must come together and terminate the financial rascality and criminality being enjoyed by politicians to enable Nigeria to prosper,” Adeyeye said.
Adeyeye expressed regrets that the minister of finance, who had championed Nigeria’s debt repayment, was the same person now leading the country into more debts.
Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (APC- Oyo) said that the budget should be returned to the executive to include the budget estimates of revenue yielding agencies such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Ports Authority and others not captured.
The Senate is expected to conclude debate on the 2014 budget on Thursday.