Variables of 2012 Budget and Vindication of Adversaries
It has been an established tradition in Nigeria, for the annual exercise of the budgeting season to be a period of relaying fantastic visions and expectations to the largely skeptical audience, indeed, the current 2012 Budget of Fiscal Consolidation, Growth and Job Creation, has unfortunately not buckled the long established ignominious trend. Premised on a total expenditure of 4.749 trillion naira, based on a collectable revenue receipt of 3.644 trillion, while the remainder of the balance would be financed through deficit funding, the recurrent expenditure is estimated at 2.472 trillion, which is aggregated at 72% of the total projected national estimate, the capital expenditure vote is projected to be around 1.32 trillion naira, that is exactly projected to be about 28% of the total national proposal. From the total quantum outlay of the budget, it would be most hard to try to situate the context of the whole exercise, outside the past annual projection exercises, as all the indices and parameters of the past failures, seem to be evident within the current document, but, could a product document sired by a National Economic Team, who are the ever cautious borrowed agents of the Bretton Woods collective falter.
A fundamental breakdown of a significant segment of the document entails a general perusal and inquisitive examination of allocations to key sectors of the economy, who are the necessary areas which could derive growth and stimulate development, universally, proactive funding of certain sectors of the economy, has always being the key engine room and instrument for motivating and sustaining economic growth. These are the spending on education, health, agriculture, works and power, according to the 2012 annual budget estimate, the education sector of the economy was allocated the total sum of 400 billion naira, while the key health sector is given the sum of 283 billion naira for its annual national spending, the works and transport sector that is the key enabler, to the realization of the necessary infrastructure base for the economy ended up with a mere 180 billion naira. Within the context of Nigeria's unique necessity of a sector in need of funding, the agricultural and energy sectors have been the most requiring areas of higher allocation, especially as there is incontrovertible agreement by majority of the citizens for such a factual reality, yet, while the power sector had 161 billion naira as allocation, the agricultural sector was left with a miserly 79 billion naira.
Following the current global trend of thriftiness in governmental financing, the level of spending in the enumerated sectors of economy could have comprehendible, except for the fact that when aggregated with the whole quantum of the national budget, it is easily foreseen that the allocated amount is evidently not commensurate with requirement of the important sectors. More so as, the projected and exclusive allocation of funding vote to the security sector of the national budget, has seemingly eclipsed the cumulative spending in all the other sectors combined, which is an allocation of the total sum of 922 billion as an exclusive security vote, it is very important to note that the usage of the term exclusive attached to the security vote is very deliberate, because, by the contextual premise of these allocations to the security, other aspects genuinely linked to obtaining and maintaining national security are not covered under these allocation, thus areas that fell under generation of employment, who are indirectly connected with issues of achieving national security, does not enjoy the available grace of the huge funding allocated to the security sector.
A little exercise in detailed comparative inquisition, could easily reveal the evident and glaring contradiction imbued in the budget, while the agricultural sector was allocated a miniscule 79 billion as annual funding, Nigeria spent more than 600 billion naira as a net importer of agricultural produce last year, as revealed by the central bank governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi during the unveiling of the new agriculture policy, tagged Nigerian Incentive based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). Yet, during the preceding year, it was the neglected and ostracized sector that approximately provided 51% of employment to the Nigerian citizens, unfortunately, this circumstantial situation is existing upon a budget that has generation of employment as one of its principal goals, for it has been accepted by the government as a universal reality, that an inactive and unproductive populace stoke the insecurity fire raging in significant sections of the country, to cap the erroneous pandering to the level of mundane logic, the Presidential Amnesty Program for the Niger-Delta was allocated a similar sum to the total quantum of agricultural spending, for while the universally acclaimed highest employing sector is to spend 79 billion annual, the presidential program was allocated 74 billion naira.
To put in a more proper perspective, while the former budgeted sum is to cater for the nearly 70% of the generality of over 160 million citizens, the latter estimate is only projected to care for a Niger-Delta militant population that is less than 20 thousand people, these evident contradictions seems to have being inserted into the document, on the grand understanding that any projection having the imprint of Madam Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the darling of international financial management, is a well thought out and prudent budget proposal. Indeed, as if the gods are waiting to expose the hypocrisy of the whole documental arrangement, which created an impression that the power sector's problems have been solved, the Egbin power station went off the system, thus depriving the national grid of over a thousand megawatts, which simultaneously plunged the nation into darkness and the inconvenience of periodical load shedding. Yet, all these was upon a budget season trumpeting the progress achieved in the power sector, with a clear reduction in its working allocation, the question though is how could an unemployed and hungry nation be secured by a huge security vote.