In the last six months, there have been an increase in clashes between farming communities and herdsmen culminating in the killing of 73 tiv famers. This itself does not include the sacking of farming communities in Adamawa, Taraba, Kaduna, Niger and Nasarawa. The implication is that farming activities in those communities have been put on hold.
However, Mr. Akabueze thinks otherwise. For the helmsman of the country’s budget office, the clashes are ‘localised occurences’ that will be minimal on the budget. According to him, the frequent attacks on farming communities across the country will not affect the contribution of the agric sector to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. But, as the sector continues to make significant contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, many have questioned the argument of the boss of the budget office.
For Economist Friday Efih, Mr. Akabueze got his facts all wrong. He wondered why the DG budget would call a national problem ‘localised occurence’. “Personally, i feel the DG does not understand the gravity of his words. Does he know that in a farming community in my state (Delta), millions of naira was lost last year by farmers because herdsmen set fire to a vast expanse of land in the process destroying several hectares of casava farmland,” he said.
Is implementation achievable?
At the budget presentation ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari blamed the National Assembly for poor implementation of the 2017 budget.
“Regrettably, the late passage of the 2017 budget has significantly constrained budget implementation.” Analysts agree that the late passage of the Appropriation Bill continues to hamper its smooth implementation. However, some have argued that rather than late implementation, timely release of allocated funds for capital project s remain the biggest challenge.
According to the Director General, timely release of funds have made it difficult for the executive to implement the budget saying that it is always difficult to complete any project in one budget circle due to paucity of funds.
For the 2018 fiscal year, the government’s revenue projection is N847 billion from revenue generating MDAs. When asked if the projection is not toobambitious considering that 2017 projections were not met, the Director General insisted that the government will not lower it projection for the year.