Boosting Nigerian Economy Using the 2013 Budget for Agriculture

05
Jul

Background

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 NANTS4 on the 2012 budgetary allocations to agriculture shows lopsided allocation of resources within the sector.

This study aims to review the analyses on government’s budgetary allocation for 2012 (lack of in-year reports for 2012 would not allow for appraisal of spending) in a key sector of Agriculture with the further aim of redistributing resources to budget items that have meaningful impact on women and children. For example, the research compares sectors within the Agric budget and propose alternative in favour of women small scale farmers. Where such budget line items cannot be identified, the research proposed programme budgeting for identified programmes of the sector e.g. the fertilizer programme.

Results of this analysis will be developed further into policy briefs or positions papers for the purpose of advocacy engagements with the National Assembly in the months ahead prior to the enactment of the 2013 Appropriation Act.

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