Mixed reactions have trailed the 2016 “Budget of Change” presented to the Joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday. The budget sounds promising but some people are not impressed. One of those who are not excited is Nigerian renowned economist, Prof. Pat Utomi.
Professor Patrick Okedinachi Utomi, an author and professor of political economy and management expert, has weighed in on what he thinks about the national budget presented by PMB yesterday. While speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the former presidential candidate dropped a bombshell when he said that he thought the budget process a “joke.”
The Lagos Business School (LBS) professor noted that the issue with the Nigerian budget process is not astronomical ideas, but strong leadership to implement those ideas. He said that by the time the presentation is done, the main actors will go about their business as usual because the country lacks leadership. Read what he said:
“Putting it in a very awkward position, I consider the budget process a joke. January 20 years ago, I was one of those who began to analyse the budget, and by December, there were issues with implementation.
We somehow do not have the discipline of the budget process, we go through budget as public relations exercises because they are supposed to be done and decision makers go ahead to do whatever they want to do. The goal is to achieve an execution premium, but if those who are responsible for it (the budget) really had no plan whatsoever to follow the budget, then, you are wasting your time.
When those who are responsible for it, do not see long-term goals in which the budget is just a piece in an unfolding set of activities that would reach a certain goal, there is no point of it. I think what has happened to us is that we got to a point of disconnect between the leadership elite, the political class, the bureaucratic elite and development aspirations of the Nigeria people.
What the country is dealing with is a huge financing gap; we used to earn so much and now, we are earning this much, if we pretend that nothing has changed, then we would go into an economic spiral,” he warned.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said that the budget clearly shows that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, led by Muhammadu Buhari are still using their propaganda antics, which they used during the electioneering process to deceive Nigeria after seven months in power. They advised the federal government to clearly differentiate between campaign and governance.