“An Infrastructural Budget” – As Buhari Plan to Present 2018 Budget to National Assembly
The global economic crisis of 2007 and the current market glut in the oil industry that suffocated the economy of most oil revenue dependent nations in Africa, especially Nigeria has become an open lesson for Africa’s most populous and number one oil producing nation to understand that there is no silver insulation protecting it from the fragility of economic risk due to its over inclination to hydrocarbon revenue which has been bastardly challenged by high volatility.
The swift changes in the market based on the realization that a barrel of oil is not coming back to its “glorious” $ 100 price so soon, gingered the imperative attention before nations such as Nigeria to make haste and diversify their economy for sustainability and development.
Common sense, makes it clear that diversification of economy calls for years of planning and execution, at least 5 -10 years as was done in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates where the governments had a well planned vision to use the windfalls and gigantic oil revenue to diversify their economies, build infrastructures, invest in technology and supportive renewable energy which enhanced development and people’s standard of living.
Nigeria may have delayed in this aspect of leadership, as many of the country’s rulers of yester years wallowed in extravagancy, indulged in deep ocean of corruption, cared less of the masses, extensively messed up the economy and in their myopic and polluted articulations thought that there was no end to oil wealth. Infrastructural development was relegated to the background as the rich only lived for themselves.
Now reality has dawned and at this period of accountability, a wakeup call by the government of President Buhari has visualized the germane need of creating and executing a diversified economy, if Nigeria must survive and not to be torn apart by economic and political crisis.
The major tripod that could hold diversification of this nature and accelerate significant accomplishments is the establishment of relevant infrastructures. Infrastructural development should be done by the people for the people. When it comes through government, private sector, foreign direct investment, aid from the oriental or occidental, it must be strongly supported by a visionary and corrupt-free regime. In the past, Nigerian government in its corruption and lack of vision depended more on aids from the Western countries and charity works in terms of corporate social responsibility from oil companies. That’s a lazy way of thinking of ensuring community developments through infrastructures.
Speaking recently to the press, Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning said that Nigeria’s cabinet has approved draft for 2018 budget, which will soon be presented to law makers by President Buhari. It is on its approval by the National Assembly before the president will sign it into law. According to document published last week by the budget ministry, the budget for 2018 would be about 8.6 trillion naira ($27.3 billion), which is 15.5% higher than that of 2017.
The good news is that a significant part of the budget will be channeled towards infrastructural development and the diversification of the economy. As the economy of Africa’s biggest economy that was plunged into recession and just coming out if it in this second quarter is on the bit to save itself through diversification, it is important that government be cautionary to avoid white elephant projects, be very strategic in choosing contractors. Transparency, accountability, sincere and clear communication to the people and government of Nigeria must be very crucial in the current project management maneuvers, if the vision of economic diversification and development could be realized this time in Nigeria.