Varsity don blames SAP for failure of past budgets
Failure of past budgets to meet targeted demands and create wealth for greater majority of Nigerians in the last two decades has been attributed to the aftermath of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced in 1986 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prof. Mike Obadan has said.
Obadan, a senior lecture at the University of Benin and guest speaker at a one-day Abuja summit on: Strengthening the budget- plan link for inclusive development in Nigeria, said that inability of Nigeria to maintain its once viable national rolling plan among other short, medium and long-term budget systems are because SAP insisted on their suspension despite their far-reaching usefulness.
The university don maintained that SAP had failed to achieve set goals of revamping the nation’s economy, creation of wealth and new jobs, as well as stamping out poverty, but appeared to have worsen them, adding that this meant that the programme was a failure in Nigeria.
According to him, in the last ten years or more, the Nigerian economy had grown but with a weak structural growth, adding that the growth pattern recorded in the period preceding 2014 was essentially non-inclusive. He explained that what this meant was that large scale unemployment had continued, despite high GDP in the period before 2015, saying the nation’s economy by this development took the semblance of winner takes it all.
On the solution to budget failure of the past, Obadan said that government must take conscious steps to ensure that all short, medium and long-term plans or projections of government link with one another to bring about development. He also recommended that an annual plan should be made to link with medium-term plan, which in turn would be linked to an annualbudget.
He also urged government to embrace budget discipline, even as he said that government needed to clear the air on definition of duties ascribed to various offices in the Finance Ministry for instance which has a Director General, Budget, and Permanent Secretary in the same ministry. This he said is key to avoid function overlap and prevent budget failure.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma who commended the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) for the initiative to convene the summit, said also that he is currently working hard as minister to ensure seamless integration and cooperation of the planning and budget department of the ministry to ensure efficiency.
While explaining that government has a complete strategic implementation plan for making the 2016 budget a success, he listed critical infrastructure, collaboration with private sector, social protection and job creation, as well as improved security and anti-corruption drive as key plans to reflate the economy.
Udoma who said that Nigerian economy was no doubt going through critical times due to drop in oil revenue and security challenges, said however that the Federal Government remains resilient to using the current challenges as a stepping stone to greater national development.