A renowned businessman in the Niger Delta, Chief George Owarieta has said that lack of good governance especially in the area of poor budget implementation and lack of accountability have been identified as one of the causes of stunted economic growth in Nigeria.
Chief Owarieta in a chat with our correspondent in Asaba on the State of the Nation’s economy at Ekpan near Warri said that Nigeria still remains underdeveloped not because of lack of resources but because of poor understanding of the rationale for budgeting and consequently poor implementation by those in authority.
He urged Government officials not to see budgeting as an annual ritual for padding vulnerable areas for looting rather than a set of economic financial projections, targeted at areas of economic focus and development, adding that the aims of the projections are derailed by corruption, lack of proper monitoring and deliberate manipulations of the budget to suit pre-determined self serving goals of operators, thus displacing the goals of economic development for which the budget is set for.
He added that until proper understanding of the purpose of budgeting, transparent implementation, budget monitoring and a genuine integration of development goals with budgeting, Nigerian economy will continue to remain stunted.
Owarieta observed that inadequate implementation as well as poor monitoring and evaluation have constituted major problems in effort to create employment, poverty reduction and a sustainable economic growth.
He noted that extra budgetary features which occur in the life of an annual budget also displace the main focus for the utilization of the nation’s wealth, adding that incidents such as Boko Haram insurgency with its accompanying challenges of internally displaced persons(IDPs), rehabilitation of destroyed communities, massive importation of arms to fight senseless wars also accentuate the phenomenon of poor implementation of budgets.
“In a situation where villages are ravaged on a continuous basis without persecution of culprits, allow for leakages in the nation’s resources. Funds available to the nation are diverted to these senseless enterprises”.
He stressed that funds for the illegal procurement of the huge caches of arms and ammunition are majorly sourced from Nigeria’s resources, stressing that such abnormal occurrences also deplete the available resources, to implement budgets that are genuinely formulated to address the dwindling economy.
The Ogbodu of Agbon Kingdom stated that there are too many diversions of funds that are fueled by the structural imbalances in the Nigerian state, he added