Nigeria--Why There Is Lack In The Midst Of Plenty

By Prince Charles Dickson


"If figures of what we spend are published to the Nigerian people, riots will erupt all over the country" Adams Oshiomole

The Federal Government is to fund a quarter of its 2012 budget proposal with external and domestic loans.

A total of $1.712 billion estimated at N265.36 billion is coming from countries such as India, China and France while the government is also expecting to dig N794 billion from the domestic market, bringing total borrowings for funding of fiscal 2012 at N1.059 trillion.

Besides the N1.059 loan needed to fund government spending next year, the government is also expecting to borrow another N600 billion from the capital market to refinance matured loans.

$1.032 billion is to be sourced from India, Japan, and China under new borrowings to fund the N4.74 trillion Federal Government budget, according to the budget details submitted to the National Assembly.

The new borrowings by government are besides $679.53 million in existing loan agreements that would be drawn down in the forthcoming budget year.

Under the new borrowings, the French Development Agency is providing $159.69 million, the Japanese Overseas Development Agency is providing $150 million, $300 million is coming from the Chinese Global Facility, and another $9 million is coming from a credit line from India.

Other sources of new borrowings are the International Development Association, IDA, an arm of the World Bank which is providing $343.5 million while the African Development Fund, a development channel of the African Development Bank is providing $70.5 million.

If half of these funds go into the right channel, Nigeria would be a developed nation in half a decade, Nigerians would smile from their heart, they would believe a president who said we are not broke and borrowing is not all that bad, a president who says if we were just two million fuel would be free.

Sadly after all these borrowings, all these millions, billions and trillions, the Federal Government will spend more than N1.31bn in fuelling generators in the 2012.

The Presidency would spend N99.8m to fuel generators at the State House alone, and we say all is well, they tell us to tighten our belt, and they release their own to make room for big bulging tummies from cassava bread, ofada and abakaliki rice with choice cassava alcohol juice.

The figure is some 80% higher than the N54m budgeted in the 2011. Does France, India and China know this, well even if they did, it matters less, its good business for them. Chinese and Indian generators, French spares, it goes round, and it comes around.

The budget for fuelling generators in 2012 is reflective of one, the Federal Government's removal of fuel subsidy and an increase in the pump price of petroleum products. Two, an increase in the profligacy...bottom-line what happens to the ordinary man with no one to borrow him some small thousands to cope is anybody's business.

According to the 2012 budget estimates, the State House will next year buy unspecified number of buses, three utility jeeps and operational vehicles, 18-seater transit Coaster bus, spend another N356.7 million to replace aged vehicles, procure two treated Mercedes Benz saloon 600E guard for use by the President and Vice President at the sum of N140 million. It will buy five Mercedes Benz saloon 350 semi-plain cars at N25 million, 10 assorted Range Rover jeeps, Prado and Land Cruiser.

All these at just about 10 million short of a billion naira...welcome to the Aso Rock car stand...an auto shop for those that do not buy fuel at subsidized rate.

From the borrowed money, GEJ and Sambo that understands our pain will spend 1 Billion Naira On food, enjoying exactly the sum of N992.57 million worth of food, general catering services, and kitchen utensils and equipment. If my primary knowledge of utensils is right...it should include spoons and knives, fingers spoons and plates, cups...for one billion naira (sic).

The guys without shoes now eat with golden spoons, because of their lavish life styles, many have no shoes and are equally school-less, health-less, electricity-less, road-less, water-less, food-less, painfully enough powerless to do anything. All these because we have a nation where its ruling elite are afraid of themselves rather than the people.

From these billions, Jonathan will be spending N3billion on overseas trips next year, while his next buddy, Sambo will spend N1.7 billion on trips, and N1.3 billion on office stationeries. Healthy Sambo will spend 314million for drugs and medical supplies, which is more money for drugs than Jos University Teaching Hospital.

We are still engrossed in the glossary of hope, we are not shocked by the recalcitrant behaviour of public office holders, despite the trust deficit, it is not enough to give birth to indignation, there is no fury, we reward theft of our mutual wealth by a few with awards, honours, traditional and chieftaincy titles...

I conclude this admonition by saying that our government would continue to be irresponsible, play cat and mouse with corruption because we show no outrage, we have not been pushed beyond bounds, we are not exactly yet angry at our present situation.

Do we continue like this, in wishful thinking that all will be okay...as our Christian brothers celebrate Christmas; I wish us a peaceful celebration, and a positively eventful 2012 ahead. One last question for 2011, how much does a Nigerian governor earn, and how much does he spend every day, does it make sense...Time will tell