An opposition party, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), has said the government should cut the salaries and allowances of civil servants and pay more attention to social services and massive job creation for the masses.
In march, PREMIUM TIMES reported how Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central, revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost.”
He added that the running cost does not include a N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive.
SPN, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, critically analysed the 2018 budget which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 20 inside his office at the presidential villa Abuja.S
The total budget is N9.1 trillion, up from the N8.6 trillion estimates he submitted to the Assembly on November 7, 2017.
The two chambers of the National Assembly passed the budget on May 16, six months after it was presented by the president.
According to the party, “a government that claims to bring about change should pay more attention to social services and massive job creation but typically of the capitalist government, less attention is paid to the challenges confronting the people.
“SPN is opposed to the provocatively high allocation to the National Assembly (N139.5 billion), Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (N112 billion), Office of the National Security Adviser to the Federal Government (N123billion) and the jumbo salaries and allowances for political office holders in the executive, legislators, agencies etc., put at over N500 billion”.
The statement also described the 2018 budget as one not really different from previous ones as a result of a steady increase in the volume of the budget and debt servicing. It further described it as having all the hallmarks of a capitalist budget in a time of mounting crisis.
“It is a budget of poverty consolidation and enrichment of a few privileged persons. We do not see the rational for servicing of debt to the tune of N2.01 trillion an amount that equals the amount allocated to Education (N661 billion), Health (N356 billion), Agriculture and Rural Development (N203 billion), Water Resources (N155 billion), Power, Works and Housing (N715 billion) put together.
“What this clearly shows is that the Buhari-led government prioritizes the interest of a few creditors, most of whom are members of the ruling class, far and above the obligations to the Nigerian working masses,” it said.
The statement signed by the party’s Acting National Chairperson, Abiodun Bamigboye, and the National Secretary, Chinedu Bosah, also revealed what the party would do differently if they had been the rulling party.
“SPN government will reduce the allocation to the National Assembly by at least 80% and same for Office of Secretary to the FG and Security adviser to the FG and thereby saving about N300 billion that will be channeled into education, health etc.
“In the same way the reduction of jumbo salaries and allowances to the average wage and allowances of civil servant will save at least another N300billion. SPN will pay back loans that were utilized in the interest of the people but will not service or pay loans owed to looters while some of the loans will be re-negotiated.
“SPN is opposed to Tax amnesty of N87.8 billion but favours making the rich and the big companies to pay more tax and hereby raising additional revenue from corporate income tax from N658 billion to at least N1 trillion. Massive investment in social infrastructure and industrialization under a democratic control of the working people will drastically the cost of doing business and consequently attract more small and medium scale businesses.
“The SPN will scrap the allocation to Power Reform Program of N193 billion in line with its renationalization program of the power sector. SPN will also scrap the N65 billion for amnesty to militants and N150 billion allocated to Special Intervention Program and invest these resources in addition to the existing allocation to expand, education, health, environment, housing etc., and by so doing train, educate and create jobs to youths in general as a means of eradicating militancy, kidnapping and other social vices in one plan to eradicate poverty and joblessness,” the statement said.
On foreign investment being a major key to a boosting Nigeria’s economy, the party said attracting foreign investment will not industrialise the economy, at best the foreign investors will cherry pick and exploit the opportunities to make the most profits.
The statement read, “Only massive investment in key sectors like education, integrated transportation, rural development, modern agriculture, healthcare, steel etc., in a planned manner can industrialise and create jobs on a massive scale.
“The task of achieving sustainable economic progress can only be carried out by the working masses through nationalized planned economy under transparent and democratic control and management by the working people themselves. This is what the SPN will work to achieve by building a movement of Nigerian working people and poor that can transform the country.”
Editor’s Note: The headline of this report was corrected to reflect the category of public officials the SPN demand was about.