Prominent economist and politician, Dr. Pat Utomi, has rebuked the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the parlous state of the economy, saying it lacks the capacity for effective budget planning.
Utomi spoke in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Wednesday, as guest lecturer at Emmanuel Egbogah Budget Roundtable organised by the Business School of Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
According to Utomi, the fall in oil prices did not cause Nigeria’s current economic recession as the Buhari administration wants Nigerians to believe.
He stated that the Buhari administration failed woefully to preempt and predict the coming economic situation, arguing that if the government had been futuristic in budget planning and management of resources, it would have led the country away from recession.
Speaking on the theme – Budget Processes in Nigeria: Challenges and Implications for National Development, he noted that the Buhari government lacked foresight and did not plan.
His words: “Our major problem is that we lack planning and budget discipline. In beginning of a budgeting process, it must be matched with where the people are going; but beyond revenue and expenditure, budget has to do with discipline and execution.
“Those blaming fall in oil price were just bad managers. That was not the cause of this recession.”
Further according to him, the economic situation in the country was thrown up by the events of 1966 when a gang of soldiers hijacked the leadership of the country, noting that the same characters had remained in power since then in different guises.
On his part, the deputy chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Chris Azubuogu, said poor funding of budget, lopsided budgeting, deficit budget and high domestic debt profile were responsible for the slow pace of development.
According to Austin Nonyelu, a professor, the conference was organised to examine the problems of the Nigerian budgetary process.
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