2018: Hope rises as President, 34 governors set to lift economy with N17.075 trillion

President Buhari and some state governors

To make 2018 a better year for Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari and 34 governors have promised to pursue ambitious and prosperity budgets totaling N17.075 trillion. This is N3.455 trillion higher than the N13.620 trillion the 34 governors and the Federal Government budgeted for 2017, which expired yesterday.

Apart from Rivers and Kebbi states, which are yet to announce their 2018 budgets, most of the governments voted to spend more money than they did last year. The exceptions are Benue, Borno, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi and Taraba. The new year will also be a new era in the annals of budgeting in Nigeria with two states – Cross River (N1.3 trillion) and Lagos (N1.046trillion) – crossing the one trillion naira mark for the first time.

The Cross River and Lagos budgets are reminiscent of what the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, did in the Second Republic when he proposed about one billion naira budget, a move that raised dust in the polity then with some stakeholders wondering how he was going to fund it.

Instructively, most of the state governors have allocated more funds to capital projects and critical infrastructures expected to deepen the country’s recovery from economic recession and ensure the welfare of the citizenry. Some of the governors promised to make infrastructure development, education, health agriculture, housing and urban development their top priorities in 2018. Only the Federal Government, Bayelsa, Enugu, Ekiti, Ondo, Plateau and Yobe states allocated more funds to recurrent expenditures.

Altogether, the governments will spend N7.705 trillion on capital expenditure and N9.092 trillion on recurrent expenditure. The high figure for recurrent expenditure was marked up by the Federal Government’s share of N5.960 trillion.

As a group, the states allocated more funds to capital expenditure (N5.053 trillion) compared to recurrent expenditure (N3.132 trillion). Indeed, the governors have given their budgets fanciful and motivating themes to drive their fortunes-turning objectives. The themes are: Budget of Hope and Empowerment (Adamawa), Budget of Partnerships and Opportunities (Abia), Budget of Value for Money, Economic Diversification and Job Creation (Anambra), Budget of Consolidation on Industrialisation (Akwa Ibom), Budget of Finishing Strong on development, Stability and Prosperity Phase 2 (Bayelsa), Budget of Resettlement and Empowerment (Borno), Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation (Cross River), Budget of Growth (Edo) and Budget of Accomplishment (Ekiti). Others include: Budget of Consolidation and Continuity (Imo), Budget of Reality (Kano), Budget of Actualisation (Katsina), Budget of Sustainable Growth and Development (Kwara), Budget of Progress and Development (Lagos), Budget of Accelerated Development (Ogun), Budget of Stabilisation (Oyo), Budget of Sustainable Positive Change (Sokoto), Budget of Consolidation and Socio-economic Rejuvenation (Yobe), Budget of Enduring Legacy (Osun), and Budget of Divine Visitation (Ebonyi).

Excerpted from a Vanguard report.

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