Far reaching measures are to be considered as the President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja ordered the National Planning Commission (NPC) to go back to the drawing board and produce the framework for a 2016 national budget that will reduce recurrent expenditure and prioritize developmental projects.
The directive came after a briefing from the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Bassey Akpanyung at the Presidential Villa.
With this directive and the pressure on federal government resources especially with the drop in oil prices, there is fear that the new administration may consider the Steve Oronsaye committee report on the restructuring of government agencies which aims at cutting government’s bloated cost of governance.
Oronsaye report had recommended scrap and mergers of some government agencies to achieve this.
Buhari had earlier decried the bloated cost of governance during the induction of the National Assembly when he Stressed the need collaborate on the budget process and restructuring of the public sector so as to collectively tackle the menace of high recurrent cost at the expense of capital and human development.
Bukola Saraki, senate president has also towed this line when he condemned the high recurrent expenditure.
The Senate, it would be recalled re-adjusted the 2015 Appropriation Bill, slashing the recurrent expenditure from N2,616.01 trillion to N2,584.08 trillion and also increased the capital project from the initial proposal of N633.53 billion to N700.78 billion.
The upper chamber also cut the allocation for the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) by N81 billion in the 2015 fiscal year and recommended the scrap of N360.94 billion Service Wide Votes domiciled at the Ministry of Finance.
Furthermore, it slashed the subsidy payment for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol from N200 billion to N100 billion and cut down the subsidy for kerosene from N91.08 billion to N45.52 billion.
The President at the meeting told Akpanyung and Directors of the NPC that capital projects must now be given the fullest possible priority because Nigeria cannot achieve real development without adequate investment in capital and infrastructural projects.
“In carrying out its role in surveillance of the economy, review and appraisal of policies, the Commission should devise a plan for a realignment of the budget so that capital projects can be really prioritized,” the President directed.
The Executive Secretary of the NPC had informed the President that Nigeria’s planning system was beset by many challenges.
These challenges, he said, included the non-alignment of national plans with the annual budget and inadequate capacity in the departments of Planning, Research and Statistics in the various government ministries.