President Jonathan’s Tricky Budget Figures

The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, a...

He says recurrent expenditure is down but actually, its not.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim that recurrent expenditure is “down” in the 2012 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday contradicts reality as actual recurrent expenditure in the 2012 budget is up by about N82 billion from the 2011 figure.

While presenting the budget proposals before the lawmakers, the president said that “the share of recurrent expenditure in the 2012 Budget proposal is 72%, down from 74.4% in 2011” creating an impression that the recurrent expenditure was on a downward trend – with an added promise to drag the trend till 2015.

Although there is a percentage drop in proposed expenditure on recurrent for 2012 within the context of the entire budget – which is six percent larger than 2011’s – the actual figures reveals a contrary rise in the recurrent expenditure for 2012.

According to the president’s proposals, 2012 recurrent expenses will gulp 72 percent of the total budget of N4.749 trillion which equals N3.41928 trillion.

The amount spent on recurrent in 2011’s budget is 74.4 percent of N4.484 trillion which is equal to N3.336096 trillion.

Comparatively, the percentile is down but the actual amount to be spent of recurrent expenditure in 2012 did not go downwards; rather, it will be higher than what was spent in 2011 by N82.32 billion.

In as much as the Paul Nwabuikwu, spokesman of the Finance Minister, agrees with the observation, he says there is nothing wrong with the president’s logic.

“The percentage is more important than the actual figure,” Mr. Nwabuikwu argued.

Recurrent expenditure has been the bane of Nigeria’s budgeting system since 1999 and usually sucks up funds meant for projects like road, rail and house construction, power projects and other capital projects that will grow the economy.

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