Kebbi State Governor and Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Senator Atiku Bagudu has said Nigeria’s budget must be jacked up to $300 billion or $500 billion to be able to fix the nation’s challenges in the various sectors.
Bagudu spoke at the weekend in Abuja, during the public presentation of a book titled; “APC’s Litmus Tests: Nigerian Democracy and Politics of Change”, written by the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman.
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The governor said that the APC-led government was aware of the fundamental challenges to be addressed, adding that the party would not shy away from acknowledging them and providing a transparent leadership.
“When one compares it (Nigerian budget) with the United States, a country with 331 million people, you find that in 2019, the United States federal budget was over $3.5 trillion and 1% of $3.5 trillion is $35 billion.
“That means our (Nigeria) budget is less than 1% of the United States’ budget and yet, we are looking after a population that is about 70% of the United States population.
“If one considers the actual distribution of revenue, it even reflects the truth. For example, from January, this year to May, the Federation Allocation Account Committee meetings, there is no month yet, where the equivalent of $2 billion has been distributed.
“So if things go this way, that means $24 billion will be distributed by the three tiers of government. This is the central challenge that we need to communicate and President Muhammadu Buhari has shown us the way by discipline, by value for money.
“But our quest includes necessity, expanding our horizon so that we can see how we will move the $35 billion federal budget to $300 billion or $500 billion federal budget because only then, can we meet some of our expectations, some of our aspirations in all sectors.
“But before then, we will continue to struggle to find enough money for security, to find enough money for health, to find enough money for education, and part of APC’s litmus test is to communicate this properly to Nigerians so that in making choices, we are not blinded by promises, “the governor said.