A Nigerian economist has stated his opinions about the 2016 national budget presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
“Putting it in a very awkward position, I consider the budget process a joke,” he said.
Professor Pat Utomi was on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday morning, few hours before the presentation of the budget by President Muhammadu Buhari before a joint session of the National Assembly.
He further said that “January 20 years ago, I was one of those who began to analyse the budget, and by December, there were issues with implementation.
“We somehow do not have the discipline of the budget process, we go through budget as public relations exercises because they are supposed to be done and decision makers go ahead to do whatever they want to do,” he said.
Low Energy In Leadership
Proffering solutions to the problem of budget implementation, Professor Utomi said that “the goal is to achieve an execution premium, but if those who are responsible for it (the budget) really had no plan whatsoever to follow the budget, then, you are wasting your time.
“When those who are responsible for it, do not see long term goals in which the budget is just a piece in an unfolding set of activities that would reach a certain goal, there is no point of it.
“I think what has happened to us is that we got to a point of disconnect between the leadership elite, the political class, the bureaucratic elite and development aspirations of the Nigeria people,” he said.
Professor Utomi further said that the major reason why the budget isn’t working in Nigeria is ‘leadership’.
“There is low energy in leadership. we are not leading the country in the right direction.
“What the country is dealing with is a huge financing gap; we used to earn so much and now, we are earning this much, if we pretend that nothing has changed, then we would go into an economic spiral”, he added.
While stating that the 2016 budget would focus on addressing youth unemployment and cater for the vulnerable, President Buhari said that Nigeria remains committed to diversification to build and reflate the economy.