2020 Budget: Ngige decries allocation of 76%, 24% to recurrent, capital expenditures

• Says govt can't shut down economy to pay salaries

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has decried the 2020 Budget Proposal recently submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari, to the National Assembly.

The grouse of the minister is the amount allocated to capital expenditure vis-a-vis recurrent in the budget, emphasizing that a budget that is 76 per cent recurrent and 24 per cent capital has nothing to cheer about.

“It is a matter of balancing. A budget that is 76 per cent recurrent and 24 per cent capital, for me, it is nothing to cheer about,” the minister said while hosting the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), who were on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

The minister said the budget of N10.3 trillion has N10.3 trillion as personnel cost without an overhead, adding that if running cost and other incidental costs are added, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76 per cent.

With this development, he wondered where the government would get the money to build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools and other capital projects needed to be done.

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Out of the 76 per cent, he explained that the government has captured N200 billion generally for consequential adjustment for the minimum wage and others, adding specifically that N160 billion is for consequential adjust.

He said: “The 2020 budget of N10.3 trillion has N3.8 trillion as personnel cost without overhead. If you add running cost and other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76 per cent. Where do we get the money to build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools etc.

“It is a matter of balancing. A budget that is 76 per cent recurrent and 24 per cent capital, for me, it is nothing to cheer about. In the 76 per cent, government has captured N200 billion for consequential adjustment for the minimum wage and so on. These are all part of personnel. N160 billion is for consequential adjustment of the minimum wage and not
total package of workers’ salaries. Everybody has to make sacrifice. We must plug leakages.

“The ghost workers should go and we should know who the real workers are. As of today, we have 1.3 million persons in the federal civil service and maybe it will be more by the time we finish bringing everybody to IPPS.

“The number of workers, 1.4 million or 1.5 million out of 200 million people take 33 per cent of the budget which has deficit. It is important we know this. It is up to us to use all the money to pay salaries and the economy will grind to a halt and be like Venezuela.”

The minister added, “We cannot allow government to shut down the economy because it wants to pay salaries and wages.”

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