Among clogs of sharp practices in Nigeria, the misadventure of cyber-crime has risen to the height of troubles for the Country. The misadventure which more or less has been left to entrench its foothold in the Country, has had its tentacles enlarged to so broad a network that it has acquired for the Country a stench in the international community, as a headquarter where cyber-crime fraudsters are bred. Cases of high profile cyber-crimes involving Nigerians at resounding volume, attracting international concern, have continually shown forth recently. The arrest and exposure of some of the cyber-crime kingpins who are citizens of the Country have continued to pose unpleasant perception about the Country in the international front.
On Wednesday, a court in the Western District of Texas had sentenced a Canada-based Nigerian, Olumide Bankole Morakinyo, to eight years in prison for conspiracy and money laundering. By the Court verdict, he is also to refund a sum of $975,863 to the multiple victims of his escapades. According to the United States Attorney’s office, the 38-year-old Morakinyo conspired with one Lukman Aminu to create illegal accounts for participants on the online portal of the Texas Employees Retirement System. It was contained in the court’s document that the duo had used bank deposit information in the system to re-route pension payments to accounts controlled by Aminu. The U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman had also ordered that Morakinyo be placed on three years of supervised release after completing his prison term. Aminu, charged in a separate indictment, was sentenced on December 18, 2019, to 51 months in prison. U.S. Attorney, Ashley Hoff had said: “For a scheme that defrauded the Texas Employees Retirement System, Olumide Bankole Morakinyo, 38, a Nigerian national residing in Canada, was sentenced today to eight years in prison and repayment of $975,863 in restitution to multiple victims for conspiracy to commit money laundering. This Defendant’s scheme and those like it victimize our most vulnerable citizens and cost taxpayers billions each year. Our office will use all of the available legal tools to identify and bring to justice those who commit cyber-enabled fraud and launder the proceeds. According to court documents, Morakinyo conspired with Lukman Shina Aminu, a resident of New Hampshire, to create unauthorized accounts for participants in the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) internet portal. Personally identifiable information (PII) of various ERS participants was used to make changes to their accounts in the ERS internet portal. Bank deposit information on file in the system was changed to re-route retirement payments to debit cards controlled by Aminu. Aminu, who possessed the physical debit cards, would withdraw money under instructions from Morakinyo and then transfer or deposit that money at Morakinyo’s direction.
“The debit cards were also used for cash withdrawals and to purchase money orders for personal expenses and for buying used vehicles to be shipped overseas to Nigeria and Benin for resale. With these international automobile transactions, Morakinyo and his conspirators laundered the fraud proceeds by concealing the source of the funds and making the money appear to be legitimate income.”
The IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard Goss of the Houston Field Office, had commented that: “Today’s sentencing of Olumide Morakinyo highlights how seriously IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) and our law enforcement partners take the issue of identity theft. We will continue to pursue those criminals who prey on innocent victims, stealing their identities to promote tax and other frauds. This sentencing should send a clear message to would-be criminals, that you will be caught and you will be punished.”
Meanwhile, as foreign Countries where Nigerians are running to as safe haven in search for greener pastures are intensifying efforts to track down the networks of cyber fraudsters, particularly those from Nigerian origin, it is pathetic that the Country at home is apparently so uncoordinated in the fight to stem the claws of the tentacles of the misadventure. The saddening tale is that security agencies which are meant to be at the vanguard of clamping down on the sharp practices have become abettors of cyber fraudsters. Operatives who are meant to hunt after these criminals have rather been observed to be doing same to their own selfish interests, using state force apparatus to squeeze out money from fraudsters. The turn to such nauseating disposition of bribery has been at the detriment of the Country, as it has only deepened the root of cyber-crime in the Country.
Reports of the allegations against Nigeria’s celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari, by the U.S. District Court quoting Ray Abbas, A.K.A Hushpuppi, who confessed to bribing Kyari to arrest a co-fraudster in a whopping $1.1m deal, had attracted reactions questioning the sincerity of the custodians of State force apparatuses in combating crime in the Country. The US court documents had revealed that Abbas reportedly paid off Kyari to arrest a colleague of his whom he had a dispute with.
Kyari had on Thursday in a denial statement which many NigerIan’s found so ridiculous claimed that: “Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about 2-years ago that somebody in Nigeria seriously threatened to kill his Family here in Nigeria and he sent the person’s phone number and pleaded we take action before the Person attacks his family. We traced and arrested the Suspect and after investigations we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life And they are long time friends who have money issues between them hence we released the Suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail. Nobody demanded for a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi. Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened.
“Later, he saw some of my Native Clothes and Caps on my social media page and he said he likes them and he was connected to the person selling the clothes and he sent about N300k directly to the person’s account. The Native Clothes and Caps (5 sets) were brought to our office and He sent somebody to Collect them in our office. Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him. We responded to a distress call he made on threat to his family and released the Suspect when we discovered there was no life threat from the Suspect. This is the true story. Vincent is alive, he can be contacted.
“For those who are celebrating that this is an indictment on us and mentioning some fictitious Big Money, they will be disappointed once again as our hands are clean and our record of service for 2 decades is open for everybody to see. They will continue seeing us serving our father land and we will continue responding to all distress calls from all Nigerians provided they are life threatening. For good Nigerians who appreciate our service, please don’t worry as our hands are clean and they should please not respond to those celebrating and creating many false narratives without any evidence. We are used to such types of people and false newsmakers and distributors.”
However, later update emerged on the allegation levelled against Abba Kyari before a district court in the United States of America revealing that Kyari allegedly sent third party account to Hushpuppi for payment. The US court document had revealed: “On January 20, 2020, defendant Kyari sent an electronic message to UICC Abbas containing the account information for a bank account at a Nigerian bank in the name of a person other than defendant KYARI himself, where UICC Abbas was direct payment for the arrest and imprisonment of defendant VINCENT.”
It would be recalled that the Nigerian suspected fraudster Kingpin, Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, was arrested last year June by Dubai Police and subsequently transfered to the FBI in the US. In his trials, he had recently pleaded guilty in the United States. The proceedings had narrated how he bribed Nigeria’s celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari. According to the US Department of Justice, a criminal complaint initiated the prosecution of Hushpuppi in February with court documents revealing that Abbas, the 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20. A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24million in losses. Officials said in court filings that Abbas disclosed during interrogation that he paid bribes to Nigeria’s police chief, Kyari, to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1million dupe of a Qatari businessperson.
It is doubtless that many Nigerians have been taken aback by the new revelations. The indictment of heads of law enforcement agencies who are meant to be arrowheads of clamping down on criminal networks, with involvement in connivance and/or involvement in soiling escapades, speaks volume against the Nigerian State. It would be recalled how celebrated former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was also a figure of public stare over probe of corruption allegations. It is heart breaking when arrowheads of security operatives and law enforcement agencies, meant to check against crime, are cut in the web of infidel acts contrary to an impeccable profile they should maintain. It is pertinent that such officers are meant to maintain and sustain code of conducts and disposition far from any tendency capable of raising any suspicion about their position. Impeccable character should be the watch word of law enforcement agencies, particularly as it concerns their heads who should lay the precedents and legacies for lower ranking officers to follow. It is imperative for the custodians of political power in the Country to begin to pay more attention to the profile of integrity, sincerity, ingenuity, capacity and honesty in the choice of appointing heads of security and law enforcement agencies against leaning on political, sentimental, and prebendal considerations.
Kaduna drone mishap: Military must review rules of engagement, standard operating procedures
An accidental bombing of Tudun Biri village in Igabi local Government Area, (LGA) Kaduna state by the Nigerian Army, Sunday night, has attracted major concerns. The ugly development left much controversy..
Undisclosed scores of persons have been confirmed dead with dozens injured, following the bombardment which has been described as accidental and erroneous. While the Nigerian Air Force denied its involvement, later confirmation from official sources established the fact of the event. The Nigerian Army later owned up responsibility.
The Overseeing Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan In a press statement that trailed the development personally signed and made available to Journalists in Kaduna on Monday had said the incident happened on Sunday night, while the Army was in a routine mission against terrorists in the area. He further stressed that search-and-rescue efforts are still ongoing, as dozens of injured victims have been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the government. According to him, the General Officer Commanding One Division Nigerian Army, Major VU Okoro explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.
On a later development, amidst more knocks trailing the Sunday night military accidental bombardment, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja paid a condolence visit to the community, tendering apologies. The Army Chief arrived the community in the early hours of Tuesday, accompanied by Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, where he met with the Dangaladima Zazau, the District Head of Rigasa, Architect Aminu Idris, other leaders and members of the community.
A statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu had explained, “The COAS in an emotion-laden speech expressed regrets on the unfortunate mishap, describing it as a very disheartening occurrence. Speaking further, Gen Lagbaja noted that in the recent past, the general area of Tudun Biri and adjoining villages were infested with armed bandits, who terrorised the communities, until troops of the Nigerian Army started conducting operations to sanitize the area and make it habitable. He pointed out, that the troops were carrying out aeriel patrols when they observed a group of people and wrongly analyzed and misinterpreted their pattern of activities to be similar to that of the bandits, before the drone strike. The COAS stated that he was in Tudun Biri to personally witness the site of the mishap and to convey sincere regrets and unreserved apologies on behalf of the Nigerian Army to the District Head and people of the community, as well as the Government and entire people of Kaduna State.”
Describing the incident as “disturbing,” President Bola Tinubu ordered an investigation Tuesday after the Army acknowledged one of its drones mistakenly struck the village of Tudun Biri as residents celebrated a Muslim festival.
Knocks have continued to trail the mishap. For instance, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, expressed concerns over the number of accidental Nigerian military air strikes which have killed dozens of civilians and left several others injured. Atiku, who was the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, in a post on his X handle, on Tuesday described the latest miscalculated military drone attack as tragic.
”I am grieved by the news of the drone airstrike that killed dozens of people and left scores of others with various degrees of injury in the Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Ironically, the victims of this unfortunate incident were celebrating the Maulud anniversary. The incidence of miscalculated air strikes is assuming a worrisome dimension in the country.
“I call on the authorities to launch a thorough investigation into this tragedy to avert future occurrences.
“Meanwhile, no resource should be spared in medical attention to the injured and assistance to the families of the dead. I pray that the Almighty Allah comforts the bereaved families and grants the dead eternal peace,” he had submitted.
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi had described the bombing of Tudun Biri Villagers by the Nigerian Army as regrettable. Obi in his assertion in a statement via his official X handle on Tuesday, said the incident is an embarrassment for the Nigerian Army and the country. Obi had said any incident that leads to harm or the loss of lives of the innocent people they are meant to protect should be avoided.
He stated, “I read with sadness, the devastating reports of the accidental bombing of Tudun Biri Village in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, by a Nigerian Army craft that mistook the villagers for terrorists.
“The lethal incident left death tolls reported to have risen to 80, with several others injured. While our military continues to fight impressively against insecurity in many parts of the country, they must exercise utmost caution and professionalism to avoid this kind of embarrassment to both the military and the country.
“Fatal mistakes like this leave indelible trauma on the families who have lost their loved ones to this ugly and unfortunate mishap. I sincerely commiserate with families that lost their loved ones.
“It is regrettable that the problem of insecurity in our nation has persisted for so long that we are now paying such unintended human costs as collateral damage.”
The United Nations also deplored the incident. The UN human rights office said it deplored the attack, noting that it was the latest of at least four airstrikes that have resulted in significant civilian fatalities since 2017.
“While we note that the authorities have termed the civilian deaths as accidental, we call on them to take all feasible steps in future to ensure civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected,” said UN Human Rights Office spokesperson, Seif Magango said in a statement.
The UN added that, “We are particularly alarmed by reports that the strike was based on the ‘pattern of activities’ of those at the scene which was wrongly analysed and misinterpreted. There are serious concerns as to whether so-called ‘pattern of life’ strikes sufficiently comply with international law.
“We urge the Nigerian authorities to thoroughly and impartially investigate all alleged violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, including deaths and injuries from air force strikes, and hold those found responsible to account.
“The government should also provide victims of any unlawful strikes and their families with adequate reparations.”
While it is known that bandits have long terrorised parts of Northwest Nigeria, operating from bases deep in forests and raiding villages to loot and kidnap residents for ransom, it is no doubt that military efforts to combat the terror is not negotiable. However, such efforts must not be unguided and carried out without intelligence.
It is known that Nigeria’s Armed Forces often rely on airstrikes in their battle against bandit militias in the Northwest and Northeast of the country, where jihadists have been fighting for more than a decade. As noted, it is important the Armed Forces review rules of engagement and standard operating procedures to ensure that such incidents do not repeat itself. It is pertinent that security agencies begin to work with reliable human intelligence reports on the ground before any offensive attack to avoid innocent casualties, as the case was in Kaduna.
Also important is the need to develop counterinsurgency strategies that will insulate the civilian population from tragic incidents of this nature. Acting on intelligence is important for the military to exercise utmost caution and professionalism to avoid this kind of mishap.
What Nigeria stands to gain at COP28 in Dubai
The connotations and denotations surrounding the ongoing Convention of Parties (COP) with Nigeria being described as having recorded the highest number of registered delegates from Africa at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates should be accorded with less priority.
Our focus as the most populous black nation in the entire globe should be the positive impacts of the summit on our environments considering the fact crude oil is the major source of revenue to national coffers. Therefore, the activities surrounding extraction, mining and operational processes of oil production and even the mining Sector must be properly dealt with and these are some of the areas of concentration by the Federal Government led team by President Bola Tinubu.
According to a list published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Nigeria is also third-highest overall in number of delegates at the conference.The provisional total for COP28 indicates that 81,027 delegates registered to attend the summit in person. With a further 3,074 attending virtually, this takes the overall total to 84,101, a report released on Friday. The figure is 30,000 more than those who travelled to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt for COP27 in 2022, the previous largest in an almost 30-year history of summits.
The positive aspect is that Nigerians participating at the summit will have a broadened knowledge on the activities of climate change affecting the country and this will be spindown through policies formulation and implementation by the government.
Peeping through the article written by Special Assistant to Mr. President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Temitope Ajayi argued that those with sufficient understanding and knowledge on climate matters know that issues around the subject have layers and multiplicity of factors that require experts from various fields. There are lined-up technical sessions on financing climate actions at sub-national levels, regions and local governments. State Governors from Nigeria such as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Umo Eno of Akwa-Ibom have been really busy with their officials at COP28, making presentations, speaking at panel sessions and pitching some of their sustainability projects to development partners and investors.
According to him, multifaceted stakeholders from different countries including Nigeria are on ground in Dubai because they don’t want decisions that will affect them to be taken without pushing their own agenda. It is the reason delegates from China and Brazil are over 3,000 respectively. China is one of the world’s biggest polluters and Brazil is at the centre of global climate debate with her Amazon rainforest. These two countries know important decisions that will affect them will be taken and they have to move everything to be fully on ground and ensure they are fully represented by their best brains at every level of discussion and negotiation.
Like former President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders who demanded fair deal and climate justice for Africa at previous UN Climate summits, President Tinubu is leading the charge at COP28 on behalf of Nigeria and the rest of the continent, demanding from the West that any climate decision and action must be fair and just to Africa and Nigeria in particular, especially the debate around energy transition. President Tinubu has been unequivocal in his position that Africa that is battling problems of poverty, security and struggling to provide education and healthcare to her people cannot be told to abandon its major source of income which is mostly from extractive industries without the West providing the funding and investment in alternative and clean energy sources. President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business not jamboree. Our President has been very busy representing our country well. Since Thursday morning when he arrived Dubai, President Tinubu has spent not less than 18 hours daily in attending very important sessions, pushing our national agenda whilst holding bilateral and business meetings on the sidelines.
On the part of the Federal Government, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris clarified that the delegation sponsored by the Government to attend the Convention of Parties (COP) 28 in Dubai is on serious business and not jamboree. He explained that the country’s participation in the summit is in line “with our status as Africa’s leading sovereign voice and player in climate action.”
According to the Minister, out of the 1,400 Nigerian delegates attending the COP28, only 422 persons are sponsored by the government. Listing the numbers he revealed that National Council on Climate Change has 32, Federal Ministry of Environment = 34, All Ministries = 167, Presidency = 67, Office of the Vice President = 9, National Assembly = 40 and Federal Parastatals/Agencies = 73 participants.
In noting the importance of the summit, the minister emphasised that “Nigeria as the biggest economy and most populous country in Africa, with a substantial extractive economy and extensive vulnerability to climate change, Nigeria has a significant stake in climate action, and our active and robust participation at COP is therefore not unwarranted. The Convention of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the world’s pre-eminent Climate Change Conference, attended this year (COP-28) by more than 70,000 participants and delegates from over 100 countries.
“Nigeria’s representation is very much in line with our status as Africa’s leading sovereign voice and player in climate action. Parties to this Convention from Nigeria include government officials, representatives from the private sector, civil society, the voluntary sector, state governments, media, multilateral institutions, representatives of marginalised communities, and many others.”
According to him, it is imperative to point out that the overall Nigerian delegation to COP-28 comprises Government-sponsored (Federal and State Governments) and non-government-sponsored participants (from Private Companies, NGOs, CSOs, Media, academia, etc).COP-28 presents an array of investment and partnership opportunities for the various sectors affected by climate change, and Nigeria is already benefiting from its ongoing participation, as demonstrated by the following: Nigeria and Germany signed an accelerated performance agreement to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve Nigeria’s electricity supply. President Tinubu hosted a high-level meeting with stakeholders and investors on the Nigeria Carbon Market and the Electric Buses Rollout Programme on the margins of the COP28 climate summit.
“The President unveiled the Nigeria Carbon Market Activation Plan, co-chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Zacch Adedeji, and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), Dr. Dahiru Salisu.
“The Electric Buses program is only the first step in a series of innovative, clean, modern, and sustainable initiatives across diverse sectors, all aimed at simultaneously addressing climate change-related challenges, reducing carbon footprint, modernising infrastructure systems, and positioning Nigeria as an attractive destination for global investments.”
He maintained that Nigeria stands to benefit from the Loss and Damage Fund established during COP-27 in Egypt and formally operationalised at the opening plenary of COP-28 in Dubai. The Fund will provide substantial non-debt financing to support countries most affected by the impact of climate change. Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been pledged as contributions to the Fund. The President also met the President of UAE to concretise engagements between the two countries. This is aside from the bilateral talks held with several countries and multilateral partners.
There should be highlighted that, over the years, Nigeria has firmly demonstrated its climate action credentials by being the first African country to launch its Energy Transition Plan, the first African country to issue a Sovereign Green Bond, and one of the first to pass national climate change legislation.
It is pertinent to note that beyond the number of sponsored delegates being argued and trending on social media, Nigerians should beam their searchlight on collective benefits from various stakeholders cutting across public and private sectors, communities and socio-ethnic gains of the masses from the ongoing Convention.
The mirage of fiscal renewal in Nigeria’s 2024 budget
The unveiling of Nigeria’s 2024 budget by President Bola Tinubu was anticipated with a mix of hope and skepticism.
The hope was that the new administration would pivot from the fiscal imprudence that has characterised the nation’s budgeting for decades.
The skepticism stemmed from a history of unfulfilled promises and economic plans that have often sounded more impressive on paper than in practice. Unfortunately, the skepticism seems warranted as the N27.5 trillion budget proposal for 2024, dubbed the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope,’ falls short of the transformative fiscal recalibration that was promised.
At first glance, the budget’s title suggests a fresh start, a breakaway from the past. However, a closer examination reveals a continuation of the same old patterns: “envelope” budgeting, precarious funding assumptions, a bloated recurrent expenditure, a modest capital outlay, a substantial deficit, and an increasing debt burden.
This is not the bold overhaul that Nigerians were promised, but rather a reiteration of the uninspiring fiscal practices of the past two decades.
President Tinubu’s speech to the National Assembly painted an optimistic picture, one where the budget would lay the groundwork for macroeconomic stability, reduce the deficit, and increase capital spending in line with the administration’s priorities. Yet, the reality of the figures tells a different story.
The allocation of N9.92 trillion for non-debt recurrent expenses and N8.25 trillion for debt servicing—which alone consumes a staggering 45 percent of the total budget—signals a continuation of the government’s preference for consumption over investment.
This approach does little to inspire confidence in the budget’s potential to stimulate economic growth or alleviate poverty.Moreover, the projected deficit of N9.18 trillion, which represents 3.88 percent of GDP, though a reduction from the previous year’s 6.11 percent, still underscores a reliance on borrowing.
The planned new borrowings of N7.83 trillion, along with the anticipated N1.05 trillion drawdown on multilateral and bilateral loans, further entrench Nigeria’s precarious revenue position. The expected N298.49 billion from privatisation proceeds is not only insignificant in the grand scheme but also highly speculative, given the government’s historical reluctance to privatize.
The budget reiterates lofty goals such as fostering “job-rich” growth, improving investment stability, and enhancing human capital development. Yet, without a significant shift in the allocation towards capital expenditure and a realistic plan for revenue generation, these objectives seem more aspirational than achievable.
The heavy lean on debt servicing casts a long shadow over the prospects of meeting these goals, as it leaves little room for the necessary investments in infrastructure, education, and healthcare that are critical for sustainable development.
The ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’ was an opportunity for President Tinubu’s administration to demonstrate a commitment to changing the narrative of Nigeria’s economic management. It was a chance to present a budget that would not only reflect the current economic realities but also chart a clear path towards fiscal sustainability and inclusive growth.
Unfortunately, the 2024 budget proposal, as it stands, is a missed opportunity. It is a whimper in the face of Nigeria’s economic challenges, not the bang that was needed to jolt the economy towards a new trajectory.
As the National Assembly deliberates on this budget, it is imperative that lawmakers critically assess the proposed allocations and assumptions. They must push for a more balanced budget that prioritizes capital expenditure and addresses the revenue challenges head-on. It is only through such rigorous scrutiny and a willingness to make tough decisions that Nigeria can hope to achieve the macroeconomic stability and growth that the government so optimistically promises..
Nigeria’s recently announced 2022 budget has been met with criticism from experts who have raised concerns over its assumptions and allocation of funds.
The budget assumes an average oil price of $77.96 per barrel, which is precarious given that prices have averaged $74.38 on Friday.
Additionally, the estimated oil production of 1.78 million barrels per day is questionable, with production averaging 1.35mbpd this year. With 400,000bpd stolen and OPEC seeking to cut production to boost prices, the output target appears unrealistic.
Furthermore, the national budget is still overly dependent on oil and gas revenues. Other assumptions, such as inflation at 21.4 per cent and debt servicing, also raise questions. Inflation rose to 27.3 per cent in October, fuelled by high energy prices, rocketing naira exchange rates and runaway food prices.
The government’s spending over 90 per cent of its revenue on debt-servicing, and still borrowing at breakneck pace, means its deficits and borrowings could eventually exceed estimates. Experts describe annual budgets as an “important instrument of national resource mobilisation, allocation and economic management”.
However, this budget is largely more of the same annual fare, sustaining high recurrent spending. The N1.32 trillion or 5.0 per cent infrastructure vote falls short of the $1.5 billion required under the Reviewed Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan.
The social sectors, primarily education and health, which combined are allotted 12.5 per cent, continue to get short thrift.
This contradicts Tinubu’s electoral promise to allocate at least 10 per cent to health, and the 15 per cent combined agreed for health and education by African countries in 2010. Overall, the budget has been criticised for its assumptions and allocation of funds, which could hinder economic development.
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