A former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wammako, has scored President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposed 2016 budget high, saying it is the best in the recent history of Nigeria.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja on Friday, Mr. Wammako said the proposed 2016 budget was the first in the history of civil rule in the country to give 30 percent allocation to capital projects.
“No civilian administration came nearer to 30 percent allocation to capital projects. This is really commendable.
“Past administrations mainly allocated everything to the recurrent vote. We must commend President Buhari for this populist-orientated budget, which will address infrastructure deficit in the country,” he said.
Mr. Wammako, who is currently a senator, noted that the thematic area of the budget is the issue of diversifying the economy, against the previous mono-economy budgeting.
He argued that Nigeria’s first generation universities and other institutions in the country were not built with oil money, saying the country had been yearning for a leader who would take away his focus from oil revenues to diversify the economy.
“We are happy that we have a president who courageously seeks to address the issue of economic diversification.
“Remember, our old universities such as Ahmadu Bello University, Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, were not built with oil money. So it is obvious Nigeria can survive without oil revenues.
“The three major areas I highlighted – agriculture, solid minerals and tourism – will take Nigeria out of its problems when harnessed. We will forget about oil completely.
“The budget also gives a major check to address the educational challenges in Nigeria, including teacher quality, school enrolment and retention, training and retraining, among other issues.
“It will surely restore the glory of public schools and address literacy issues in this country. It may not be easy, but with good planning, these targets can be attained.
“In the over N6 trillion budget, only less than N1 trillion that is expected to come from oil sector. This means that we are looking inward, including sourcing for loan, which is part of governance.
“No government can survive without loan. America is the biggest debtor in whole world, just as it is the biggest economy in the whole world.
“Previously Nigeria took loan and misused it. But this time it is going to be used for the betterment of the people.
“Last year, $1 billion loan was collected, but what happened? The loan itself and our existing money, totalling $2.1 billion, were all stolen.
“If this money was invested in our economy, the story would have been different. The economy would have been more productive and buoyant.
“By and large, the budget addressed all the major challenges affecting Nigeria. I appeal to Nigerians, regardless of political affiliation to support this budget as it gives hope to Nigerians. Instead of calling it ‘a budget of change’, I will prefer to call it a ‘budget of hope’,” the former governor added.