Trouble looms over rising debt, Budget Office warns.
The Budget Office of the Federation has said Nigeria now has a “limited borrowing space” due to its poor debt-to-revenue ratio, stressing that “trouble” looms for the country if it exceeds its limits.
The Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, while addressing members-elect of the 10th National Assembly at their week-long induction ceremony in Abuja on Wednesday, pointed out that while Nigeria remains healthy with its debt-to-GDP ratio, the country is not with its debt-to-revenue ratio.
Akabueze was speaking to the newly elected and returning members of the National Assembly, which is responsible for the consideration, amendment and passage of annual budgets of the Federal Government as well as economic bills like the Finance Bill.
Akabueze also stated that Nigeria should not be classified as an oil-rich economy. “We are not even an oil-rich economy. To classify oil-rich economies, you talk of countries like Saudi Arabia where there are 34 million of them and pump 10 million barrels of crude per day, or Kuwait where there are 3 million of them and pump three million barrels per day,” he said
The Budget Office boss added that while Nigeria has a population of over 200 million, “we are currently pumping about 1.9million barrels per day.”
Akabueze noted that Nigerians often say the country is not short of development plans but has a problem with implementation. “I disagree because a plan that cannot speak to implementation is not a good plan,” he stated.
The DG pointed out that development plans in Nigeria date back to the early 90s. “But you can argue that it has not been successful in the desired manner. Annual budgets are essentially back sizes of development plans. They contain achievable objectives within a year. A budget that sits outside the development plan is not a good budget,” he said.
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER