Centre for Social Justice, a Nigerian knowledge-based institute, yesterday, declared that Nigeria is broke and that the 2019 budget was dead on arrival.
While justifying this claim, the Lead Director of the centre, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, noted that the budget deficit is at 1.33 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the economic diversification, which would have been a source of revenue, is not effective.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Tuesday, Onyekpere said the deficit is in the sum of N1.859 trillion, or 21.06 per cent of the overall expenditure and 26.68 per cent of the retained revenue.
“It is to be financed mainly by borrowing the sum of N1.649 trillion from external and domestic sources – N824,82 billion from each source,” he said.
This, he said, leaves a balance of N210 billion to be funded from privatisation proceeds, adding, however, that it is an expectancy which is yet to materialise.
“From the experience of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budget implementation, the president and National Assembly need to start the approval and implementation of the borrowing process early so that funds can be available to execute the proposed 2019 capital budget when approved,” he advised.
According to him, notwithstanding the mantra of economic diversification, the nation is still faced with the dominance of oil as the single most important revenue source. This implies that the diversification efforts have not yielded the desired dividends.
“The efforts need to be intensified for non-oil revenue to gain ascendancy. At 52.94 per cent of expected revenue, oil is still the dominant factor. However, Nigeria is yet to fully explore, exploit and expound the frontiers of oil-based revenue through income from refineries, petrochemical complexes and the full value chain of the sector. Thus, while diversifying, we need to fully explore the potential of the sector,” he said.