Nigeria made over 30 trillion naira (about US$ 162 billi on) in federally-generated revenue since the country returned to democracy 10 ye a rs ago with the Federal government retaining 10.881 trillion naira of this amoun t , according to figures obtained by the privately-owned Sunday Vanguard newspaper .
Federal government’s expenditure outlay during the period was N12.548 trillion o f which only N3.921 trillion was for capital projects while the balance of N8.30 7 trillion was for recurrent, the figures revealed.
In clear terms, much of the public funds accruing to the centre during the last 10 years was spent not for the general welfare of Nigerians but to pay the salar i es and allowances of civil and public servants.
According to the figures, the situation revealed an interlocking set of vicious circles that perpetuates economic stagnation and rural poverty.
One of such circles is the savings – investment gap in the rural parts of the co untry. Another is the problem of shortage of dedicated government administrators .
The result is often incompetence, worsened by endemic bribery, corruption and fa vouritism.
Besides, the ineffective system of taxation over the years has failed to mobiliz e financial resources for capital formation. Bad as this situation is, it is wor s ened by investment allocation.
Nigeria in the bid to foster unity in diversity set up and allocated investment in ways that hardly promoted economic growth.
Appointments to offices are not based on merit and performance but on ethnic ari thmetic while public enterprises operated at a loss, draining scarce capital rat h er than creating it, the paper reported.
Government, realising that it cannot do well in business, has made attempt to pr ivatise enterprises that have been a source of economic rent to bureaucrats.
If Nigeria’s economy is to achieve a self sustaining growth, its workforce must develop the motivation and discipline essential to industrial production.
Nigerian farmers must become commercial farmers open to technological innovation in agriculture as against the subsistence farming and the use of old implements
that is of today
A large percentage of the capital votes all these years was not spent but held b y the various Ministries, Department and Agencies of government.
The lid on how this practice was dragging the nation backward was blown open whe n President Umaru Yar’Adua came on board and demanded that all unspent allocatio n s be returned to the federal treasury.
Government recovered 360 billion naira of such unspent allocation to ministries, Department and Agencies.
Unspent funds from last year’s budgetary allocations to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), totalling 360 billion naira, have been recovered by the Fed e ral Government.
The MDAs, according to the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Tanimu Y akubu, returned 300 billion naira from their capital vote allocations and anothe r N60 billion from their recurrent expenditures for last 2007.
The issue of unspent funds has become thorny under the present government, with two ministers losing their positions recently for failing to comply with the gov e rnment policy.
On National treasury, Dr. Tanimu told journalists that the Federal Government wa s expecting an additional 40 billion naira to be returned by the MDAs. This push e d the total returned funds to the national treasury to 400 billion by the time t h e directive was fully complied with.
“When the present administration came on board, we discovered that government do esn’t have enough resources to implement what the president promised during his c ampaign. So, the president directed the recall of MDAs’ capital votes and we rec o vered over N300 billion. About N60 billion was also returned from their recurren t expenditure.
Commenting on the power sector that has generated a lot of controversy, he expla ined that given the amount of funds already spent, additional 16,000 megawatts o u ght to have been generated but that the reverse was the case because of the way i t was executed.
He said it was because of this development that Yar’Adua insisted that he would no longer pump money into the sector until he was sure that additional power wou l d be generated.
In Nigeria, productivity is low because investment is low and investment is low because savings is low.
In turn, savings are low because income is low; income is low because productivi ty is low.
The situation remains largely the same as savings have not improved beyond what they were in the 1980s if not worse off.
Going by World Bank reckoning, while Korea achieved about 94 per cent level of s econdary school and tertiary enrolment, Nigeria, during the same period (1965-19 8 6), achieved 29 per cent.
The implication is that while these countries have reached a self sustaining gro wth, Nigeria has been trapped in poverty, deficit budgeting 315 billion naira in
2002, 202 billion naira, 172.6 billion naira in 2004, 161 billion in 2005 and 1 1 7 billion in 2007 and population explosion of 140 million in 2008.