In a significant political development, President Bola Tinubu presented the 2024 budget proposal, termed the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’, to the National Assembly on November 29, 2023. The budget, amounting to N27.5 trillion, has sparked controversy, particularly from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Through its spokesperson, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP has criticised the budget, alleging it is structured to oppress the poorer segments of Nigerian society.
During his first budget presentation, President Tinubu outlined the budget’s focus on micro-economic stability, poverty alleviation, and enhanced social security. Key areas highlighted include bolstering security, fostering local job creation, stabilising the macro-economy, optimising the investment environment, and advancing human capital development.
The budget breakdown reveals recurrent non-debt expenditure at N9.92 trillion, capital expenditure at N8.73 trillion, and debt service at N8.25 trillion. The projected revenue stands at N18.32 trillion, with new borrowings estimated at N7.83 trillion, leading to a deficit of N9.18 trillion.
However, the PDP has criticised the budget, describing it as a “colossal disservice” that could exacerbate economic depression and despair among Nigerians. The party has challenged the President’s claim of the budget being a beacon of renewed hope, arguing that it lacks tangible strategies for economic revival, job creation, and improvement in critical sectors like manufacturing, energy, agriculture, and education.
The PDP has also raised concerns over the budget’s heavy reliance on foreign loans and increased taxes, which it believes will further burden Nigerians and mortgage the nation’s future. The party has highlighted the unsustainable nature of the budget, particularly in terms of its recurrent and capital expenditure and debt servicing, in the face of existing debts and proposed borrowing.
The PDP has criticised the budget’s exchange rate assumption of N750 per US Dollar, arguing that it will further weaken the economy, damage the productive sector, and erode the purchasing power of the Nigerian populace.
As we delve into the intricacies of President Bola Tinubu’s proposed 2024 budget, dissecting the underlying implications and the broader economic landscape it seeks to navigate is crucial. The budget, ambitiously pegged at N27.5 trillion, is not just a financial document but a reflection of the government’s priorities and vision for the nation’s future. However, the opposition’s sharp criticism raises pertinent questions about the budget’s feasibility and impact on the average Nigerian.
At the heart of the PDP’s criticism is the concern that the budget, rather than being a vehicle for hope and renewal, could be a harbinger of further economic strain for the already burdened citizens. The accusation of the budget being ‘designed to strangulate poor Nigerians’ is grave, and it warrants a closer examination of the budget’s components and their potential repercussions.
The focus on macroeconomic stability and poverty reduction is commendable, but the devil lies in the details. The heavy reliance on foreign loans and increased taxation as funding sources is a double-edged sword. While it might provide the necessary capital for development initiatives, it also risks plunging the nation deeper into debt and placing an additional financial burden on its citizens. If not managed with utmost prudence, this approach could indeed ‘mortgage our nation’, as the PDP fears.
The PDP’s critique of the budget’s lack of concrete plans for reviving key economic sectors calls for introspection. A budget that does not adequately address the needs of the manufacturing, energy, agricultural, and education sectors is arguably shortsighted. These sectors are the engines of economic growth and development, and their neglect could stifle the nation’s progress.
In essence, while the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’ aims to chart a path towards economic stability and growth, its implementation mustn’t lose sight of the immediate and long-term needs of the Nigerian populace. The government must ensure that the budget’s lofty goals do not become a burden for the citizens but rather a ladder to lift them towards greater economic prosperity.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria’s 2021 budget was the largest in its history, amounting to over N13 trillion.
- The Nigerian Naira has experienced significant devaluation over the past decade, impacting the country’s economic stability.
- Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, surpassing South Africa in 2014.
- The country’s public debt stood at around $86 billion at the end of 2020, representing about 21% of its GDP.
- Nigeria’s economy relies heavily on oil, which accounts for about 90% of its export earnings and half of its government revenue.