BudgIT, a civic-tech organization leading the advocacy for transparency, accountability, and effective service delivery in Nigeria, calls for an immediate release of a transparency and accountability plan to ensure President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s promises are fulfilled following the President’s July 31st national broadcast concerning the nation’s current economic crisis.
On July 31, 2023, while addressing the nation, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among other key issues, said a budget of N75 billion will be allocated from July 2023 to March 2024 to support 75 promising manufacturing enterprises with N1 billion credit each at 9% interest for up to 60 months for long-term loans and 12 months for working capital. He also added that there are plans to stabilize staple food prices by releasing 200,000 metric tonnes of grains and 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer and inputs to farmers. While stressing that N125 billion will be invested in MSMEs, with N50 billion designated for a Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses and N75 billion for 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu noted that the plan also includes the introduction of affordable CNG-fueled buses through an N100 billion investment, and collaboration with labour unions to establish a new national minimum wage.
These promises indicate a significant effort to navigate the complexities of the economic crisis from the fuel subsidy removal and mitigate the impact on the Nigerian populace; however, their successful execution is contingent upon transparent planning and accountability mechanisms.
The fuel subsidy removal, which caused a 335% increase in fuel prices—from N184/ltr to N617/ltr—in less than two months, has adversely affected and forced the living conditions of many citizens to deteriorate drastically. This has increased the cost of goods and services and strained the already fragile economy. Many Nigerians now struggle to afford necessities while the country faces an economic crisis. In this context, President Bola Tinubu’s pledges offer a glimmer of hope, but achieving them is essential to alleviate the widespread suffering and rebuild the nation’s economic stability.
BudgIT acknowledges the complexities of the current economic situation and the need for immediate and effective action. In line with our mission toward transparency and accountability, we implore that fulfilling President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s promises calls for a united front and a clear roadmap. BudgIT is committed to collaborating with the government, civil society organizations, and all stakeholders to address these economic challenges and secure a brighter future for Nigeria.
Based on this, we request a comprehensive register and accountability plan detailing the distribution of 200,000 metric tonnes of grains, 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, and seedlings to ensure these resources are fairly and equitably distributed. A transparent method for qualifying beneficiaries must be established and made public to prevent the resources from ending in politically connected individuals’ hands.
Recall that the Nigerian government promised the poorest of Nigeria N8000 per household for six months, which was temporarily put on hold because of the challenges they identified with the National Social Register. However, the government must promptly clarify whether the existing Social Register will be utilized or a new list will be generated. Clarity on this disbursement is essential to streamline the delivery of financial support to those who need it most.
Also, the negotiations between the government and labour unions to establish a new national minimum wage for workers represent an opportunity to enhance the livelihoods of the Nigerian workforce. It is important to note that the specific timeline and percentage increase should be communicated transparently to workers and the public, as this will ease the tension between the labour unions and their members.
In its promise to support MSMEs, it is essential to publicize the criteria determining the eligibility of the 100,000 MSMEs, start-ups, and enterprises to be funded with N75 billion to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate the structural transformation and improve productivity. What method will determine the qualifications of small-holder farmers with a strong performance record for implementing the expansive agricultural program and targeting and leveraging large-scale private sector players in the agricultural business? This question begs for answers as Nigerians grapple on straws and demand answers from their government and elected officials.
To this end, BudgIT’s call for transparency and accountability in implementing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s promises is essential to rebuild trust, ensure equitable distribution of resources, and steer Nigeria toward a more stable economic future. We remain committed to collaborating with the government and other stakeholders to collectively address the nation’s challenges and secure a brighter future for all.
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