Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been reacting to the 2016 budget as presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, December, 22.
Channels Television correspondent caught up with some of the ministers after the budget presentation at the National Assembly and they shared their views on the implementation of the budget and their expectations.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma explained that the need to increase the investment on
infrastructure as a way to revive the economy was highly considered in developing the 2016 budget.
“It’s an infrastructure and a job budget. We have also set aside money for social intervention as the President explained.
“We are going to recruit teachers, we are going to get loans for market women, various projects to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
“In terms of the money, we know it’s tough but we have to find the money and we believe that we have both domestic and foreign borrowing which we will be relying on,” he said.
He assured Nigerians that the implementation of the 2016 budget would be different as there is a new budget planning and implementation strategy designed to ensure constant monitoring on a monthly basis.
Economic Diversification President Buhari had said that Nigeria remains committed to diversification of the economy with focus on the non-oil sector and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that this had been expected.
“We are already diversified in terms of GDP. Oil only accounts for about 12% of the GDP but it accounts for the bulk of the revenue and that is where the challenge is.
“So we need to start driving the revenue in the direction of Agriculture, solid minerals, communications and other non-oil sectors so that we would have a much more realistic job creating, revenue generating economy,” he said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe also had some cheering words for Nigerian farmers.
On the back of the President’s emphasis on diversification and the role expected of the Agricultural sector, Mr Ogbe promised “increased support in seed, training, extension services, post-harvest management and bigger overseas market for their produce.
“They will expect innovations in livestock, tree crops and the beautiful news is that the demand for Nigerian produce abroad has never been this high. That is what makes it marvellous.
“The private sector and Nigerians are also responding amazingly to the call for Agriculture but what excites me more about this budget are two things – the job issue for young people and the return of teacher training colleges in the local governments.
“That is probably the biggest change that this government has announced and Nigerians will see the difference.,” he promised.
With a promise that the 2016 budget would focus on addressing youth unemployment and cater for the vulnerable, Channels Television sought to know the plans of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity on the implementation of this key feature of the 2016 budget.
The Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, said, “What you should expect are jobs and more jobs. If you look at the budget it might not be clear to you what we have done. It’s an intervention budget for job creation.
“There are so many programmes that will run under them but all of them will end up being for job creation – giving employment.
“We will give employment that will be decent. For example, one of the programmes we are going to execute is the conversion of graduates into the teaching cadre. We’ll give them training after Youth Corps, 1-year post Youth Corps, 2-year post Youth Corps, that is the bar and we will start form there; get them into teaching.”
He also called on Nigerian youths to embrace technical skills in order to wriggle out joblessness.