The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, has decried what he described as waste in government, advocating for the review of the fuel subsidy.
Akabueze, who spoke during an interview on Channels Forum, a Channels Television special to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence anniversary, said the government’s spending on subsidies has been gulping a lot of resources after the personnel cost and debt servicing.
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He advised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to prioritise on its spending while cutting down on some unnecessary waste.
“We need to take a hard look at the petrol subsidy that is the single largest item of expenditure after personnel cost and debt service for the Federal Government,” Akabueze said.
“There are some wastes that we still need to cut. We need to do the job of prioritising how we spend the limited resources that are available.”
He also denied insinuations that the government is spending too much money, saying the current administration needs to explore more ways of generating revenue.
According to Akabueze, the country’s infrastructure faces a significant deficit, with many public services suffering.
“Our problem is not that the government is spending too much money. The truth is that the government is not spending enough money and the numbers are there to show.
“The public expenditure to GDP ratio is at the bottom even on the African continent and that is why public services are suffering whether in health or education. The infrastructure faces a significant deficit. It is however correct that we can be more efficient in our expenditure,” the accountant added.
Akabueze’s comments come a month after Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, presented the government’s proposal of spending N3.36 trillion on petrol subsidy in 2023.
Zainab who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja on August 29, reiterated petrol subsidy will remain in place until mid-2023.
She explained the Federal Government is proposing an aggregate expenditure of N19.76 trillion for the 2023 financial year, with a projected deficit of N11.30 trillion.