Atiku Picks Holes In 2019 Budget, Says Document Flawed - Nigeria #1 Online Newspaper

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Monday, 24 December 2018

Atiku Picks Holes In 2019 Budget, Says Document Flawed


The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday picked holes in the 2019 financial estimates presented to the National Assembly last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it was flawed and incapable of enhancing the development of the country.

The former vice president in a statement declared that the proposed budget was built on very shaky foundation and makes very generous, often wild and untenable assumptions.

Buhari had proposed in the budget an aggregate expenditure of N8.83 trillion for the fiscal year out of which N4.04 trillion is for recurrent, N2.31 trillion for capital and N2.14 trillion would be devoted to debt service.

Atiku stressed that the planned spending is lower than the 2018 budget by N300 billion, allowing for 11 per cent inflation rate, its real value is N7.95 trillion.

According to him, “The proposed budget as presented is fundamentally flawed. It deliberately ignores and fails to address current realities and pretends, as Mr. President asserts, ‘we are on the right direction.”

Atiku added, “On the contrary, the 2019 budget is built on very shaky foundation and makes very generous, often wild and untenable assumptions, which pose significant risks to its implementation. It will be a disservice to the country if we ignore these fundamental flaws.”

He said several inaccurate claims, which litter the budget document, was an attempt for the president to whitewash the regime and hide its monumental failure to improve, even minimally, the welfare and living standards of much of the population.

The PDP presidential candidate described the rhetoric of ‘inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth’ as no more than an amplification of the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led government’s renewed propaganda to hoodwink the citizens into believing that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’

The former vice president faulted Buhari’s claim that his administration has recorded several successes in economic management, and that the economy has recovered from recession; while he also claimed that foreign capital inflows, including direct and portfolio investments, have responded to improved economic management.

Contrary to the claim, Atiku stated, “In reality, the economy is yet to recover from the 2016/2017 recession as it remains severely stressed, extremely fragile and vulnerable to external shocks. GDP growth declined from 2.11 per cent in 2017 to 1.9 per cent in Q1 and to 1.5 per cent in Q2 of 2018. In Q3 of 2018 there was only a marginal increase of 0.3 per cent to 1.8 per cent.”

“In its current form, the local economy is not dynamic enough to journey to their so-called Next Level.”

For the year 2019, Atiku stressed that a general slowdown in the real growth rates of economic activity in both the oil and non-oil sectors has been projected at 1.9 per cent by the World Bank.

This rate, he said, is well below the 2019 budget projection of 3.01 per cent and is not enough to create the needed jobs for the growing population of the country or for the attainment of the SDGs.

Atiku explained that as a sign of the weakness of the economy, the rate of unemployment has increased from 18.8% in 2017 to 23.1% in Q3 of 2018, adding that today, close to 20 million people are unemployed compared to 7.2 million people in 2014.

He pointed out that these high rates of unemployment represent both a significant distortion in the economic system and a lost opportunity for critical national development and could potentially threaten social stability.

Atiku noted, “Sadly, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is limited and is declining. In Q3, 2018 capital inflows were US$2.855.21 billion showing a decrease of 48.21% compared to Q2 2018 and 31.12% decrease compared to Q3 2017.”


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