Sunday, August 25, 2013

On National Development

Expenditure of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 1961-2012.
Source: CBN Statistical Bulletin: Special Anniversary Edition& CBN Annual Reports 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

I have pondered when our development issues as a country began to degenerate and our public expenditure has given me an answer. Previously, I had thought that the excessive spending on overhead and administrative public expenditure was a recent development but history proved me wrong. Since 1961, the chunk of our annual budget has gone into administrative costs (wages, salaries for elected and civil servants maintenance, contingencies and subventions) i.e recurrent expenditure. 

The only periods capital expenditure (defense,education, agricultural and social sectors e.g roads, housing, education infrastructure etc) exceeded over heads was between 1975-1983 and 1996-1999. Apart from the FESTAC 1977 quarters, I cannot remember any other tangible projects associated with those periods.

Chinua Achebe in his "There was a Country" noted an Igbo proverb that "A man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body". In the light of the constant strikes in the health and education sectors, our government needs to identify where the rain of under development began to beat us so we can begin the process of drying our body or changing our clothes.

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