The 2016 Budget we have all being waiting for now has an open act which the President called ‘6 Thematic Strategies and 33 Priority Actions’. and all these is suppose to happen in twelve (12) months. Certain priorities in the budget are over looked as easy execution when the bases for the execution is faulty. Some of the strategies and the key points as unveiled by the Vice President are being reexamined here accordingly.
- Lasting changes in the policies, national security and governance. The action plan to intensify the implementation of public financial management reforms to grow revenue and cut costs, has a way of raising the question of; Is that why certain amount is being deducted from our account monthly? And if the answer is yes, are we all individually sponsoring this administration from our own pocket apart from the usual tax revenue? It also talked about intensifying the fight against corruption by increasing transparency, accountability and compliance with law and order. This particular action plan has no balance in the sense that, those put in place to enforce law and order, for example the police force has a low basic income per staff annually resulting to road block nuisance of collecting money on the road. We all know they are ‘the gods off twenty Naira’, therefore, if something is not done about the police force’s comfortability, that might just be another hook without a line. The budget also revealed the reorientation of the populace through integrity campaign. But if nothing is done to enhance a better standard of living for the average Nigerians, the campaign might be a waste of time and resources. An issue of priority is in play on that one.
- Diversifying the economy by fast-tracking industrialization, Agriculture and Agro-Allied processing as well as attracting investment into solid minerals, tourism and entertainment. This strategy carries few points that also need to be re examined. Such as; Implementing measures to achieve self-sufficiency and becoming net exporter of certain Agricultural items such as Rice by 2018, Tomato Paste this year (2016) and Wheat by 2019. The interesting part of this strategy says and I quote “Increasing local production of maize, Soya, Poultry, and Livestock so as to achieve self-sufficiency: Deadline to be annouunced in due course.”. With all due respect to the committee that wrote the 2016 budget, have we not waited enough for the same budget to be passed into examined? And are we not still waiting for the president to sign the same budget?, yet the open act to the performer is still notifying certain plans have no execution date even after they have said all will be put into play in the next 12 months. Does anyone get the drill here? The second strategy also notifies us about the implementation of the National Industrial Revolution plan and launching the ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign. We hope people launching this campaign won’t come on our TV screen wearing Italian Suits and Shoes to promote the same campaign? It’s a good but sensitive idea, because no stone must be left unturned.
- Prioritize critical infrastructure, focused on increasing investment in power, Rail and Roads etc. Stating that the administration will…I quote “Ensure Tariff includes all costs of transmission, generation and gas at new price and distribution company costs required to operate, maintain and upgrade distribution networks.” Get the explanation here if you don’t still understand, it means your Nepa Bill will surely increase because of all the reasons stated above ‘new price’. It is going to be an expensive Government, true the new administration might do all these things, but as it is going, you and I might have to pay a huge price to live that life.
- Oil and Gas Reforms makes us understand that the government will set a deadline to be self-sufficient in refined petroleum products and become a net exporter. If it is not a typographical error, it means that, in the next 12 months, the government wants to take its time to set a deadline to when the country can start refining petroleum in the country. So, it is expected now that the petroleum price and instability might continue for a period of 12 months or more because we still have to buy even as we are expected to sell less per day.
- Ease of Doing Business gives an insight to the ability of doing business on an easier level within and outside the country by moving 20 places up global ease of doing business rankings, by implementing fast track measures for business approvals and acquisition of land titles etc stating that Nigeria is already ranking 169 out of 189 countries according to the World Bank 2015 survey. First and foremost, it means Nigeria is expected to be ranking 149 in the next 12 months or at the end of the administration. Not to forget the country has the issue of government official preference. It affects this action plan in the sense that the civil service opens the floor for the land titles and business approval first to the in-house before any other person when it should be a case of first-come-first-serve and the issue of bribery for favours is alarming in the civil service work force. Those issues need to be addressed before any movement can be made on the issue of ranking.
- Social Investment. The budget promise to build 100,000 primary health care centres per ward nationwide in 12 months, hmmmm…, it also states a conditional cash transfer where one million poor vulnerable Nigerians would receive 5,000 Naira monthly. It is just a way to explain the change of mind from paying it to unemployed graduates as earlier stated by the government since unemployed youths are more than one million and to earn this 5,000 Naira you have to be poor and vulnerable, don’t forget it is also conditional. Above it all after a thorough screening by conditions, a poor and vulnerable state, people to earn the amount stated monthly might not be up to one million after all.
Please note that the above evaluations are not the only strategic plans constructed in the 2016 budget, rather it is the questioning of some of the plans in the budget that needs urgent attention of the government before signing the budget if any change will happen at all and therefore bringing it to the consciousness of the public.
Below is President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategic implementation plan for the 2016 budget as revealed by Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo:
We acknowledge the pains you face and are concerned about them.
There are a multitude of things that require decisive action. We are taking action and in due course they will produce satisfying outcomes. Our determination is firm and unrelenting.
Consequently, I am pleased to share President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategic implementation plan for the 2016 budget.
This Strategic Implementation Plan articulates 6 thematic Strategies and 33 priority actions which will constitute the short-term priority of the Federal Government over the next 12 months.
1. Lasting Changes in the Policies, National Security and Governance.
● Achieve an Appropriate Foreign Exchange Regime
● Increase low interest lending to the Real Sector. We will need to move toward a single digit interest rate.
● Maintain Capital Spending in the Budget at a minimum of 30%. Complement this with funds from the Infrastructure Fund for commercial projects
● Intensify the Implementation of Public Financial Management Reforms to Grow Revenues and Cut Costs.
● Maintain Sustainable Debt Management Strategy.
● Introduce Fiscal Incentives to Improve Collections
. Intensify the Fight Against Corruption by increasing Transparency, Accountability and Compliance with Law and Order
● Intensify Public Procurement Reforms in Projects to obtain Value for Money and cut costs.
● Sustain the Fight Against Insurgency, Kidnapping and Other Violent Crimes, Terrorism, Cyber-Crimes, Piracy, Oil Theft and Illegal Mining Activities.
Intensify the reorientation of the populace through Integrity Campaigns
2. Diversify the Economy by Fast-tracking Industrialization, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Processing, as well as attracting investment into the Solid Minerals, Tourism and Entertainment Sectors
● Implement Measures to Achieve Self-Sufficiency & Become Net Exporters of certain agricultural Items:
Increase local production of maize, soya, poultry & livestock, so as to achieve self-sufficiency: deadlines to be announced in due course.
● Revitalize and Expand Agro-Allied Processing to intensify local production and processing of cassava, cocoa, cashew, fruits and sesame seed
● Utilize 5,000 hectares of Irrigable Land in the 12 River Basin Development Authorities and utilize 22 Dams for Commercial Farming activities by prospective investors
● Develop Dadinkowa, Gurara and Oyan dams with 82.5 MW capacity contribution to the National Grid.
● Adopt and Implement a Roadmap to Stimulate Investment into the Solid Minerals sector, and plug Revenue Leakages in the Sector
● Implement the National Industrial Revolution Plan and Launch the ‘Made in Nigeria’ Campaign
● Increase Manufacturing Capacity through the operationalization of Industrial Parks, Free and Export Processing Zones, etc.
● Enhance support facilities to provide increased financial, technical assistance, networking and information to new investors and existing enterprises.
● Implement the Roadmap to Increase Private Sector Investment in Culture, Tourism, Entertainment and Sports
● Create high-technology innovation hubs to support growth in the Digital and Technology Sectors
3. Priortize critical Infrastructure, focused on increasing investment in Power, Rail and Roads, etc.
● Optimize the 7,000MW installed capacity and ensure associated infrastructure to Fuel, Transmit and Distribute this capacity.
● Ensure Tariff includes all costs of Transmission, Generation and Gas at new price, and Distribution Company costs required to operate, maintain and upgrade distribution networks.
● Resolve all Issues on Gas Pricing, Tariffs and Payment Assurance. Conclude Roadmap on Gas Development.
● Complete the Kaduna-Abuja and Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Lines scheduled for 2016; commence the construction of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge Line; and finalize negotiations for the Calabar-Lagos Rail Project.
● Undertake the rehabilitation and construction of 31 major Road Projects scheduled for 2016 to restore degraded sections of the Federal Highways network and to Establish Connectivity over a distance of 2,193km (through public works projects, maintenance works, PPP and other interventions)
● Complete the Rehabilitation of 4 Airports (i.e. Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt..
4. Oil and Gas Reforms
● Adopt & Execute a Comprehensive National Oil & Gas Master-Plan (‘NOGM’) as the roadmap for the Petroleum Industry’s Development, Diversification, Privatization & Governance. Adopt & Execute a Roadmap of Gas Development & Flare Elimination
● Set a deadline to be Self-Sufficient in Refined Petroleum Products & become a Net Exporter
● Work with the National Assembly on the passage of a Revised Petroleum Industry Bill (‘PIB’) or Bills to give effect to the NOGM & to resolve Fiscal & Governance Issues of the Sector, & Eliminate Gas Flaring.
● Conclude negotiations to deal with all funding gap issues in the Upstream Sector
- Ease of Doing Business
● Move 20 places up global Ease of Doing Business Rankings, by implementing fast track measures for business approvals, acquisition of land titles, etc. (Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank – 2015 Survey)
● Fast-track visa application and issuance processes
- Social Investment
● Implement Social Intervention Programme and specific Health / Education projects included in 2016 Budget
● Health Sector Interventions including Flagging off the Revitalization of 1 Primary Health Centre per Ward (a total of 10,000 nationwide)
The Social Investment plans include the following:
● Train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates as volunteer teachers who would be paid on the job while they seek jobs in their chosen careers.
● Homegrown School Feeding for primary school pupils across the country paid for by the government
● Micro-credit scheme that provides very soft loans to a million market women, artisans, traders
● Creating innovation and technology hubs/ parks on a large scale and skills acquisition & vocational training for over 300,000 non-graduate youths
● Conditional Cash Transfer where one million poor and vulnerable Nigerians would receive N5000 monthly
● Bursary awards for tertiary education students of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths, STEM.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration remains committed to economic diversification through import substitution and export promotion.
In addition to this, we will continue to engage the Nigerian people. We will resume Town-hall meetings to explain the progress and address the challenges.
Together, Nigeria will prevail”