A bill to ensure that 40% of Nigeria’s national budget is allocated to capital expenditure in the next 10 years has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
According to Punch, the bill was sponsored by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and debated on his behalf by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu. The bill seeks to criminalize failure of the Federal Government to allocate 40% of funds in the country’s annual national budget to capital expenditure.
The lawmakers declared their support for the bill, stating that it came at a time when ministries, departments and agencies needed additional money to execute projects.
Mr Gbajabiamila disclosed that countries around the world allocate more resources to capital projects, saying that only 40% of the capital component in the 2019 budget would be implemented, despite being lesser than the recurrent component of the budget.
“If you look at this 2020 budget, you will discover that by the time you calculate it in terms of percentage, the capital budget against the annual budget, you will find out that it is less than 10% of the annual budget. So, what this bill seeks to do is to correct that anomaly,” Elumelu said.
Meanwhile, the speaker in his ruling disclosed that with the passing and implementation of the bill, Nigeria and Nigerians would experience economic growth, reduced unemployment and infrastructural deficit.
“The bill when it becomes law would raise Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, stimulate the economy, create jobs and bridge the infrastructural deficit that we have all been talking about; that would take us trillions and trillions of naira to meet over the next 20 years.”
Mr Gbajabiamila acknowledged that the reason for abandoned and poor implementation of capital project boils down to the little funding provided for capital budget yearly.
“The reason why we have abandoned projects, which we all talk about, is because of the paltry sum that is voted to capital budgets on a yearly basis. We are all witnesses to the fact that practically every agency or ministry in every budget cycle will come and for lack of a better word waylay the National Assembly, asking for funds.”
However, on how to fund the 40% capital budget, the speaker reportedly disclosed that it requires the political will of those in government.
The bill titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide that 40% of Nigeria’s Annual Budget should be Earmarked for Capital Projects in the Next 10 Years,’ proposes a penalty of five years imprisonment or a fine of N50 million or both for violation or any attempt by any person to frustrate the implementation of the bill when passed.