The UN Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday in Abuja expressed support to the Federal Government’s zero-based budgeting system aimed at reducing wastage and ensure prudence in resource management.
The Country Director of UNDP, Pa-Lamin Beyai, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said this would enable the country to achieve sustainable economic development.
“We (Nigeria) must be prudent and we need to be prudent where we spend our resources. That’s important and it is not just for the sake of spending.
“That is why regardless of the critics, I’m in favour of zero-based budgeting; what we have been doing is historical budgeting.
“If I gave you N10 million last year, the tendency is that you need 15 million naira this year without checking what you did with the N15 million that I gave you last year.
“Then next year, I give you N20 million and it goes forever and forever.
“You have to get budget according to what you need; that is zero-based budgeting. So we need to ask what you need so you start from zero,” he said.
Beyai said the fallen price of crude oil had consequently affected Nigeria’s revenue generation, adding there was the need for the Federal Government to justify every fund it released.
“We need to be prudent and we need to be efficient with our expenditure.
“Resources are no more there and I think that is a lesson Nigeria and any other country should learn.
“Oil used to be what you use to get on top of 100 dollars before.
“Oil has gone as high as 140 dollars per barrel before but even the 40 dollar alone that time is more than the current cost of fuel, which is below 40 dollars.
“Somebody will tell you that water is more expensive than fuel in this country; a small bottle of water, which is 30cl is more expensive than fuel; fuel is N86,’’ he said.#
He explained that for Nigeria to achieve sustainable development, “something has to change.
“To have sustainable development, you have to manage resources well and you cannot do that without looking at your sources of funding and the expenditure; that is where prudence comes.
“Governments have to be prudent, have to be efficient in their spending and they have to be result-oriented, not just spending.
“We need to ask what have you achieved at the end of the day with all the expenses, what is there for the ordinary people.
“We need to interrogate whatever we do to go beyond the immediate and the immediate is to spend; the ultimate is what have we achieved with the expenses?
“It is only through that that we (Nigeria) will be able to attain sustainable development,” he said.
NAN recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has adopted the zero-based budgeting system as against the traditional envelope system.
Zero-based budgeting is a method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period.