Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, now Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that if government is serious about tackling corruption, the first thing it needs to do is stop apying subsidy on petroleum products.
According to him, removing oil subsidy would go a long way in stopping corruption, sanitising the country’s economy and ensuring structural reforms in all ramifications.
Sanusi spoke in Lagos at a one-day Symposium on 2015 Budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) yesterday.
The programme had the theme “Come Back Nigeria: The Nation’s Fiscal Challenges and Way Forward for the New Administration.”
Sanusi criticised government’s resort to huge external borrowing to finance budget deficits even when there was minimum impact in the lives of Nigerians.
“One of the major challenges of the country over the years, in spite of its abundant resources, has been over-dependence on oil revenue and lack of structural reforms.
“This is caused by irregular budget cycle, fiscal indiscipline, huge cost of governance, poor budgeting ethics, implementation processes and weak structures and these have continued to contribute to poor economic performance.
“We spend so much and generate little revenues. We can begin to restructure our economy by fixing the revenue chain and blocking the leakages.
“And one way of doing that is by stopping subsidy because it gives room for corruption in our country,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State said the nation was going through a critical period that called for decisive reforms to reverse the direction in which the economy was heading.
Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, said a main yardstick for measuring a well designed and implemented budget is not its size but the improvement it has brought into people’s lives.
‘’It is evident that our budgets have over the years fallen short of these expectations. This, no doubt, accounts in no small measure for the general state of our economy today.
‘’A situation where budgets do not get approved until about six months in the budget year and lack of budget discipline have constituted to the observed cycle of under-performance of our budgets.
‘’Another factor I consider very crucial is the structure of our budget, which has in most cases been in favour of recurrent at the expense of capital expenditure.
‘’It is in this light that the recent directive of President Buhari for a reduction of the recurrent estimate must be applauded, ‘’ he said.
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