Don't Miss

‘Jonathan’ll send budget early if elected’

By on April 7, 2011

President Goodluck Jonathan, if elected after the April polls, will send the 2012 budget early to the National Assembly to avoid projects’ execution delay, Minister/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, has said.

In an interview with The Nation at the Southsouth and Southeast zonal public presentation of the First National Implementation Plan (2010-2013) in Enugu State, Usman disclosed that Jonathan promised that this would help ministries and the government to ensure effective planning.

The minister, also said the Vision 20: 2020 would help to facilitate the way Nigerians do things.

He added: “We are actually making progress in spite of the challenges we face in terms of infrastructure and other things.”

Usman explained that when Nigeria “started the visioning, she was number 43 in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world. But today, we are already number 33. Two things happened. The international financial crisis affected many countries much more negatively than it affected Nigeria. So, at the time, we are achieving rapid growth for the last five or more years, we have been growing at an average of about seven per cent.”

On the attitude of returning money to the treasury by ministries at the end of the year, Usman said the Jonathan administration will jettison it. “It is lack of planning, when things are just put in the budget previously without any plan for them. Now we have drawn up a four-year plan and we are going to drive budgetary things from there,” he said.

He also said: “It takes time for people to adjust to a new way of doing things. That is the most difficult thing to do. Because of politics, I have had some of the people who are contesting for the Presidency and governors, who are not in the Peoples Democrtaic Peoples (PDP) say that the Vision 20:2020 is not achievable.

‘’We have worked with every state to produce it. So I do not see it as a PDP vision or President Jonathan’s vision. It is a Nigerian vision.

“Last year, we grew at slightly over seven per cent. Other countries who are ahead of us are declining or at least stagnant and we were moving faster. That is why you can only catch up with someone if you are moving at the speed faster than the person.

“All these things are beginning to come into place. The government alone cannot fix the power sector. The private sector needs to come in. Today, we are even paying much high per unit of electricity than anything you can imagine.

“The price of darkness is infinity and large percentage of our population is in darkness. If you look back at the history of why we are where we are today, is because for over 20 years, we did not invest at all in electricity generation.”

He lamented: “We allow things to deteriorate. We think that it will take care of itself. That is why people say that the government has been spending so much money on electricity and we still do not see any improvement.

source : The Nation