The Socialist Party of Nigeria, clearly do not agree with the 2018 budget passed by the Federal Government, yet it is unfortunate that any year now, nothing will change.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has said that the 2018 budget will further impoverish Nigerians and favour only a few privileged individuals in the country.
The party in a statement signed by Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye, its Acting National Chairman and Comrade Chinedu Bosah, National Secretary, a copy of which was made available to Daily Post on Friday added that the budget which includes servicing of debt to the tune of N2.01 trillion has clearly shown that President Muhammadu Buhari-led government prioritizes the interest of a few creditors, most of whom are members of the ruling class.
The party in the statement titled “2018 Federal budget will consolidate poverty and increase wealth of a privileged few, SPN demands huge investment on social services and basic infrastructure under a democratic control” added that “The 2018 budget has 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”.
SPN maintained that, “We do not see the rationale 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.
“The 2018 Budget is not fundamentally different from previous ones. The only constant thing about budgets in the last five years is the steady increment in the volume of budget as well as debt servicing. Capital expenditure nosedived in 2016 from N601 billion allocated in 2015 to mere N173.1 billion which was actually spent. However, in the same year 2016 debt servicing recorded N1.3 trillion up from N1 trillion in 2015. Hence, the budgets for social services like education and health have recorded paltry allocations”.
The party expressed concern that successive governments have plunged Nigeria’s economy into needless debt.
“It is obvious that governments at all levels have continually plunged the Nigeria economy into needless debt as a means of largely acquiring more public funds to themselves, resulting in increasing debt servicing. Besides, the Nigerian working masses do not feel any positive impact of these loans considering the fact that the loans are largely mismanaged and looted. The most ridiculous is government constantly and mostly borrowing money from the privileged few and imperialist institutions through financial instruments like treasury bills only to pay back one of the highest interest rates in the world and, to make matters worse, the loans are mostly not invested on anything tangible. The government through the CBN gives loans to the commercial banks only to borrow the same money at a more profitable rate is round stripping and stealing. Inflation in Nigeria is mostly influenced by cost push and not demand push considering the fact that Nigeria is mostly an import nation with a weak currency, weak purchasing power, lacking basic infrastructure, high cost of credit currently hovering 20% etc.
“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 are paid to the challenges confronting the people. SPN is opposed to the provocatively high allocation to the National Assembly (N139.5), Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (N112 billion), Office of the National Security Adviser to the Federal Government (N123 Billion) and the jumbo salaries and allowances for political office holders in the executive, legislators, agencies etc., put at over N500 billion. 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 channelled 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 N300 Billion. 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 reduce the cost of doing business and consequently attract more small and medium scale businesses.
“The Buhari government and the entire ruling elite are not thinking about industrialization let alone planning towards it, the government confuses foreign investment with industrialization. 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. Only massive investments 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 essence of industrializing the economy is to produce and carry out services faster, better and efficiently with the aim of improving the quality of life. This also means producing small tools and big machines including automated ones in Nigeria to enable the economy’s productivity increase and thereby raise living standards.
The party while urging the ruling class to wake up from their slumber to have a transparent government concluded that the task of achieving sustainable economic progress can only be carried out by the working masses themselves.
“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 the poor that can transform the country”.
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