FG should make short-term plans to balance budgets -Tope Fasua

President Muhammadu Buhari

An economist, Tope Fasua, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to make short- and medium-term plans to balance the country’s annual budgets and even achieve a budget surplus.

Mr. Fasua was the 2019 Nigeria Presidential candidate for Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party ANRP. He is the founder and CEO of Global Analytics Consulting Limited, an international consulting firm with its headquarters in Abuja,

Fasua gave the suggestion on Sunday in Abuja where he also commended the regime for proposing the N17.1 trillion budget, adding it was a step in the right direction.

Mr. Tope Fasua

“It is commendable that government is responding to suggestions that our annual budgets should be larger. Considering per capita, and in view of devaluation of the Naira, N17 trillion is still not enough, but it is a step toward the right direction,” Mr Fasua explained. “The government should be thinking of balancing the budget at some point and have surplus budget at some point.”

The economic expert further urged Mr Buhari’s regime to take concrete steps to boost its revenue generation to reduce budget deficits.

“More of such initiatives will gradually reduce deficit budgeting and also reduce borrowings to fund the budget. We can also look at taxation. Nigerians pay the lowest taxes, like VAT relative to most other countries. We seem to be resisting every attempt of government to generate revenue,” added Mr Fasua. “The recently introduced tax on carbonated drinks is commendable, but government should have been a bit more aggressive with it.”

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Meanwhile, a financial expert, Okechukwu Unegbu, says the N17.1 trillion 2022 budget was realistic considering the country’s population.

However, Mr Unegbu, a past Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)’s president, decried the huge deficit in the budget and the dependence on loans to fund it.

“Our debt servicing ratio is high. We are putting almost 70 per cent of our earnings on debt. This is worrisome,” he said.

He urged the regime to look inwards by encouraging production and value addition to the country’s various natural resources, reducing importation and encouraging consumption of locally made products.