2016 budget will address infrastructure deficit

Dr Mohammed Tumala, President, Nigerian Statistical Association, has expressed optimism that the 2016 budget of N6.08 trillion will address infrastructure deficit in the country.

Tumala told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the budget would also enhance inclusive growth.

He said that the amount budgeted for capital expenditure would help to achieve sustainable development.

NAN reports that capital expenditure takes about 30 per cent of the entire budget.

The capital expenditure takes N1.8 trillion, marking a significant over 300 per cent increment from the 2015 vote of N557 billion.

Tumala said that the budget was much clearer than the previous proposals in terms of ways to finance the implementation.

“This is a budget of hope and the government is optimistic of implementing it.

“The Federal Government has adopted the Zero budgeting system; this is about prioritising the most important projects to achieve development.

“This kind of budget will minimise abandoned projects in the country when implemented,’’ he said.

He also advised the Federal Government to adopt using identification to implement the N5,000 social welfare package for vulnerable Nigerians and the School Feeding Programme.

He said that modality to implement the package could be challenging because of data to support the programme.

Tumala, however, expressed hope that the programme was achievable with political will and enrollment of the right people.

“I think every Nigerian is supposed to have National Identity Card; this can serve as a way of identifying those that will benefit from welfare package.

“Also, some people can use their Bank Verification Number (BVN) for identification,’’ he said.

In addition, he advised the government to evolve a clear condition under which people could benefit from the package.

NAN reports that the budget was set on assumptions of a benchmark price of 38 dollars per barrel and a production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day for 2016.

It focused on non-oil revenues by broadening the tax base and improving on the effectiveness of the revenue collecting agencies.

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