According to renowned economist Bismarck Rewane, Nigerians will not be interested in budgeting if the costs of staples like bread, rice, and garri continue to rise.
On Thursday, November 30, Rewane, the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, announced this.
President Bola Tinubu stated that the planned N27.5 trillion 2024 budget will, among other things, guarantee microeconomic stability, the reduction of poverty, and increased access to social security during his first budget presentation before the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Priority issues that he emphasised included poverty alleviation, human capital development, macroeconomic stability, macroeconomic security, local employment creation, and social security.
The President set the following budgetary estimates: income at N18.32 trillion, fresh borrowings at N7.83 trillion, capital expenditures at N8.73 trillion, debt servicing at N8.25 trillion, and recurrent non-debit expenditures at N9.92 trillion.
In response to the events, Rewane stated, “Budgetary mathematics and arithmetic in economics are ultimately useless to anybody unless, six months from now, we are purchasing rice for N40,000 per bag instead of N60,000, or bread for N900 per large loaf instead of N1,300 as we do now
. if the cost of the garri we purchase is reduced.
“The people are not interested in whether the budget is balanced and what the debt is. How does it (the budget) affect their day-to-day livelihood? That is the key thing.”
“And as you know, prices are up and people are under tremendous pressure,” he said, adding that the rate of poverty in the country is driving people mad.
“You will notice that on the streets of Lagos in particular, the number of lunatics has increased and part of it is driven by poverty. Many mental health issues. People are pushed to the wall. Some of them walk across the road even in moving traffic.
“People need to feel the impact. the impact is not going to be felt because of 10 or 12% of GDP, that is N27trn; it has to be more. Where is the more going to come from? It’s going to come from investors and investors are going to come here when they are sure that their money is safe and the environment is clean, and they can look forward to a brighter future.”
He noted the government must be honest with Nigerians on the economic realities, saying that “honesty is in short supply”.
He further asserted that, people cannot start pretending to be happy. “You can fake news but you can’t fake prosperity,” he said.
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