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Business group faults Nigeria’s 2011 budget

Nigeria’s foremost business group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has expressed dissatisfaction with the huge cost of governance, as reflected in the 4.2 trillion naira 2011 budget proposal recently presented to parliament by President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to a statement from the LCCI, the figures allocated for recurrent expenditure constituted a large chunk of the overall budget, with only very small amount left for the execution of capital projects which have greater impact on the people.

“The relativity of the recurrent to capital budget in the 2011 appropriation bill presented to the National Assembly is even worse than that of the 2010 budget, where recurrent (non-debt) expenditure was 2.007 trillion naira and capital budget was 1.85 trillion naira. This was a ratio of 53 per cent to 47 per cent,” LCCI president Femi Deru said in the statement (US$1=150 Naira).

Recently, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido, caused a stir when he said that 25 percent of the National budget was being consumed by federal lawmakers.

After the budget presentation, the lawmakers offered to cut their recurrent spending for 2011, apparently because of the national outcry generated by Sanusi’s revelation.

The business group also criticised the allocation of 542 billion naira for debt servicing, describing it at excessive.

On the government’s decision to set aside 50 billion naira for job creation in the 2011 budget, the Chamber noted that such public sector-driven programme had very little chances of succeeding.

It said the disbursement of the fund could become politicized by politicians, create another incidence of ghost workers as was the case in the past and provide avenue for corrupt practices by public officers.

The Chamber advised that the fund should be given to the private sector, especially the small businesses, to create more jobs that are sustainable

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