A University Lecture, Dr Elisha Auta, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to invest more in the productive sector when implementing the 2022 budget, to drive the nation’s economy.
Auta of the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, gave the advice in Kaduna on Friday while assessing the 2022 proposed budget presented to the National Assembly.
President Buhari had on Thursday presented to the National Assembly for consideration, a proposed budget of N16.34 trillion for 2022, with N5.35 trillion earmarked for capital expenditure.
The lecturer described wealth creation as the “panacea for eradicating poverty’’, and urged the Federal Government to concentrate more on creating wealth through massive investment in the productive sector.
While applauding the government for investing in poverty alleviation programmes, Auta stressed that such investments should be re-designed to move away from consumption to wealth creation.
According to him, the hundreds of billions going into poverty alleviation programmes will make an impact on the economy if used to build cottage industries that would provide employment opportunities.
“Poverty is increasing in the country in spite huge investment in poverty alleviation programmes because they are largely consumptive in nature.
“Investing the billions on cottage industries in the 774 local government areas in the country will provide jobs, eradicate poverty and impact on the economy sustainably, he argued.
He expressed concern that although the N16.34 trillion budget size may appear huge, it was still not enough to serve the large size of the Nigerian economy and population.
He also said that revenue challenges in the country would affect the implementation of the budget, and therefore advised the government to improve tax administration and collection systems.
He pointed out that the government was always augmenting budgets deficit with borrowing due to paucity of generated revenue, which he said was bad for the economy.
“For example, the proposed financing of the N6.23 trillion projected deficit is disturbing because the country is already burdened with over N35 trillion debt,” he said.
Auta explained that taxes were the most reliable source of revenue to the government, but that the capacity to generate revenue through tax in Nigeria, had remained very difficult.
He said that the Nigerian tax administration system was grappling with challenges of tax collection and controversies of remittance of accrued revenue to Federal Government account.
He said that instead of the emphasis on borrowing, government should block all revenue leakages and ensure that all revenue generating agencies collected and remitted revenues due to the government.
“Efforts should be strengthened to bring in more taxpayers into the tax net to generate more revenues internally,which is more sustainable.
“The government should also stop compensating political supporters with appointments as ministers and heads of ministries, departments and agencies and other parastatals.
“Government should instead,recruit technocrats to manage the economy for sustainable growth and development,” he said.