The Budget of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Appropriation Act is enacted and signed in to law by the National Assembly and the President respectively. This national document guides government spending throughout the year. It represents the government’s intentions and political will to effect developmental changes in the society at large. Oftentimes priorities of Government are not backed by adequate allocations.
An estimated 69% Nigerians live in poverty and this translates to about 125 million1 men, women and children who live on the fringes of society, in need of basic social safety nets and services such as food, housing, education and healthcare. Many of Nigeria’s poor are small holder women farmers who practice subsistence farming and produce 90% 2of food consumed. According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 40million Nigerian women live below 1USD a day. It however ironical that Nigeria’s 7.75% 3growth rate is in total disharmony with the poverty indices. Why is macro economic growth not reflected in the people’s standard of living?
Agriculture is a key sector of the economy which directly impacts on the lives of ordinary Nigerians. Therefore, if budgetary allocation gives an upper hand to this sector as has clearly been identified in the National Policy documents (such as the Vision 20:2020 National Implementation Plan, the Millennium Development Goals, Agricultural Transformation Agenda, the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture, etc.), government will be fulfilling its obligations to Nigerians as well as its international commitments.
Since resources are scarce, it is important that they are allocated in areas that will support growth and impact on the social welfare of people. Previous analysis conducted by NANTS on the 2012 budgetary allocations to agriculture shows lopsided allocation of resources within the sector.