The World Bank yesterday said that Nigeria stood the chance of making an early rebound from the economic hardship faced by many in the country over the last few years. According to the global financial institution, the decision of the Federal Government to insist on passage of 2016 budget with 30 percent peg on capital expenditure is a sign of good things to come.
The bank’s Task Team Leader, Youth Empowerment and Social Operations, Prof. Folusho Okunmadewa, stated this in Abuja at the Social Protection Cross Learning Summit (SPECS 2016) organised by the Office of the Vice President, and Budget and National Planning Ministry, in conjunction with the Department for International Development (DFID), among others.
Okunmadewa noted that this would be the first time that the Nigerian government would vote as much as 30 percent of the budget for capital expenditure, saying the development has sent a positive signal to the rest of the world about the determination of the Nigerian government to tackle poverty.
According to him, the World Bank, in the last decade, had been in the forefront of tackling poverty and disequilibrium of opportunities in Nigeria, but is particularly pleased about the inclusion of social protection programmes and safety nets in the 2016 budget. He added that the areas of focus of the budget would significantly tackle poverty across board while providing adequate safety nets for the poor as well as equal opportunity in education.
Okunmadewa pledged continued support of the bank to the federal, state and local governments to help in eradicating barriers to economic opportunities in all parts of the country.
In his remarks, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Services, Mohammed Alli Wudil, said that the current legislative arm of government was delighted about the sincerity of the President Mohammed Buhari-led government in tackling poverty and mass unemployment in the country, hence the decision to pass the budget with the 30 percent capital expenditure vote.
He also reiterated the fact that this would be the first time the Nigerian government would pass such a budget, adding that it was truly the budget of change.
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, who was represented at the two-day summit by Special Adviser to the Presidency on Social Protection, Mariam Uwais, said that Nigeria was in dire need of a robust unified infrastructure management system.