Nigerians are not interested In the Arithmetics of FG’s Budget If price of bread and Rice don’t decrease — Renowned economist, Rewane

Renowned economist Bismarck Rewane stated that Nigerians would only show interest in the budget if essential items such as rice, bread, and garri experience price reductions.

Rewane, the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, made this known on Thursday, November 30.

During his inaugural budget presentation to the National Assembly on Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu emphasized that the proposed 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion aims to achieve microeconomic stability, poverty alleviation, and improved access to social security. He outlined key focus areas including security, local employment generation, macroeconomic stability, optimization of the investment environment, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security.

Breaking down the budget estimates, the President fixed recurrent non-debit expenditure at N9.92trn, capital expenditure at N8.73trn, debt service at N8.25trn, revenue at N18.32trn, new borrowings at N7.83trn and deficit at N9.18trn.

Responding to the development, Rewane said, “In the end, budgetary arithmetics, budgetary mathematics in economics is of no use to anybody except when by this time, six months’ time, if we are buying rice at N40,000 a bag rather than N60,000 a bag, if we are buying bread N900 a big loaf instead of N1,300 which we are doing today. If we are buying garri at lower prices.

“The people are not interested in whether the budget is balanced and what the debt is. How does it (the budget) affect their day-to-day livelihood? That is the key thing.”

“And as you know, prices are up and people are under tremendous pressure,” he said, adding that the rate of poverty in the country is driving people mad.
“You will notice that on the streets of Lagos in particular, the number of lunatics has increased and part of it is driven by poverty. Many mental health issues. People are pushed to the wall. Some of them walk across the road even in moving traffic.
“People need to feel the impact. the impact is not going to be felt because of 10 or 12% of GDP, that is N27trn; it has to be more. Where is the more going to come from? It’s going to come from investors and investors are going to come here when they are sure that their money is safe and the environment is clean, and they can look forward to a brighter future.”

He said the government must be honest with Nigerians on the economic realities, saying that “honesty is in short supply”.

According to him, people cannot start pretending to be happy. “You can fake news but you can’t fake prosperity,” he said.

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