Some financial analysts including the Centre for Social Justice have faulted the huge amount allocated for debt service in the 2017 budget proposal and the increase in the National Assembly’s allocation by N10bn.
The Lead Director, CSJ, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, stated in a preliminary review of the budget that “dedicating 24.73 per cent of the overall budget proposal to debt service is an indication that Nigeria’s debt profile is becoming unsustainable.”
NASS had on Thursday approved the 2017 budget with a total of N7.44tn, which is N143bn higher than the estimates submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The budget as passed by the lawmakers has a total of N1.84tn allocated for debt servicing, which is 24.73 per cent of the overall budget.
Onyekpere said, “The capital vote of 29.30 per cent is just a little higher than debt service. With a deficit financing of N2.35tn, the debt service is about 36 per cent of our expected revenue. This shows that we may soon be back to the debt situation.”
He also said that the N1.84tn budgeted for debt service was higher than the N1.34tn allocated to 10 key ministries of government.
They are agriculture, N103.79bn; education, N56.72bn; health, N55.6bn; power, works and housing, N553.7bn; transport, N241.7bn; solid minerals, N12.45bn; defence, N139.29bn; police, N63.76bn; trade and investment, N81.72bn and Niger-Delta, N34.2bn.
He added, “The capital allocation to 10 key ministries as a percentage of debt service is 72.99 per cent while debt service is 84.49 per cent of the overall capital vote.”
Commenting on the increase in the allocation of the National Assembly, the Head, Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Uche Uwaleke, said, “It is difficult to understand the reason behind the additional N10bn for the National Assembly.