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WE'LL LOSE N6 TRN IN 4 YRS TO WASTEFUL SPENDING, MINISTER WARNS

By NBF News

Nigeria risks losing about N6 trillion within the next four years at the Federal level alone if urgent steps are not taken to re-order the nation's expenditure. Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudden Usman, gave the warning on Monday at the opening session of a two-day validation workshop on the first implementation plan for Nigeria's Vision 20:2020, organized for the South east and South south zones in Port Harcourt.

He said the avoidable huge losses which exclude the states could occur because, 'there are lots of areas of waste in our current expenditure.'

The minister who presented an overview of Vision 20:2020 also decried unnecessary competition among the states of the federation with the attendant duplication of projects and services that could be jointly owned.

'Sometimes, states are competing in a useless way with each other'.

Citing an example, he faulted the present practice where each state wants to own an airport but 'end up with a semi-standard airport' instead of jointly going into such projects with their neighbours.

He reminded state governments that they operate under one economy and should team up to embark on joint projects to save cost and enhance overall development.

'There is need for synchronization because we are in the same economy.'

The minister listed key development challenges facing the nation to include inadequacy of critical infrastructure, high level of youth and graduate unemployment, weak research for development and innovation and subsistence agriculture.

Others are minimal contribution of the manufacturing sector to employment, concerns with growth of sub-national debt and the constraints of the fiscal sector posed by the dominance of oil revenue.

Speaking on the long list of gains derivable from the Vision 20:2020, the minister assured that, 'in a matter of three years, we will be able to kill the demon that has prevented our power sector.'

He said that to ensure that the implementation of the programme outlives the present administration, a draft legislation for the Federal and State levels of government have been prepared, adding that given the approval of the Federal Executive Council, it would be sent to the President and governors for onward dispatch to the National and State Houses of Assembly respectively.