Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), Minister of Power, Works and Housing, has said that Federal Government’s expectation to ensure there is inclusion and employment with the N6.6 trillion 2016 budget may not be realistic.
He explained that the inclusive governance, which the present administration targets to achieve, will be illusive and the people targeted may not benefit from the administration, if government’s spending or contracts are mainly handled by foreign companies.
According to Fashola, the gains in the 2016 budget may never be actualised if experts were either not contributing or where imported goods are preferred to local ones.
He therefore pleaded with local companies, professionals, artisans and all Nigerians to make use of opportunities that abounds in the FG’s budget of N1.8 trillion for capital expenditure, in particular; and N6.06trn total budget size, to increase their patronage, professional efficiency, job and wealth-creation potential.
The minister stated this during the fifth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Friday, at a summit entitled “Building adequate capacity of professionals, artisans and tradesman in the built environment.”
While he reiterated that the plan of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to increase the capital spending in 2016 budget to 30 per cent of the total budget size of N6.06 trillion as enough evidence of ‘change,’ he added that the aim of FG’s N6.06 trillion budget was to reflate the economy, stimulate it and increase national productivity.
“The decisions taken by the Buhari administration is to increase the capital spending in 2016 budget to 30 per cent of the total budget size of N6.06tn. This is change for those who still ask what has changed. It is change because it is a welcome departure from almost a decade of spending only 10 per cent of our annual budget on capital expenditure.
“It means that unlike in the past, when only about N400bn was planned for capital spending, and indeed much less was ultimately released and spent, this year about N1.8tn is planned for capital spending with the commitment to fund it.
“But this is not the end of the purpose of spending. It is only the means to get to the end.
“The end really is to reflate this economy, to stimulate it back to growth and back to productivity. To provide the opportunity for people to feel included in the economy in a way that growth then translates into employment for ordinary hardworking people, who can then get up in the morning and say with the dignity that comes with it, that I am going to work.”
“But I must advise that inclusion and employment will not happen by happenstance. They will not happen simply because government plans to spend money and actually does so. Yes, the budget will work, money will be spent, but inclusion may not happen and the people targeted for the benefit may not benefit, if the benefit is transferred to foreign countries, to foreign factories because professionals either do not participate or where they do, they prefer foreign made or imported goods to local ones,” Fashola said.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
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