The Federal Government's significant 241% increase in the recurrent budget reveals an excessively large and inefficient bureaucracy.

The federal government has experienced a staggering 241% increase in its budget for personnel expenses, pensions, and other recurrent expenditures over a span of 13 years. This rise has had a negative impact on economic growth and has contributed to the impoverishment of millions of citizens. Government documents reveal that non-debt recurrent expenditure escalated from N2.4 trillion in 2011 to N8.27 trillion in 2023, despite the fact that 113 million people in the country live in multidimensional poverty.

Further analysis indicates that the escalating recurrent non-debt expenditure has become a consistent trend across successive administrations, even in the face of revenue shortfalls. This situation has left little room for investment in critical infrastructure. In 2013, half of the federal government's earnings were allocated to salaries, with N2.4 trillion spent on non-debt recurrent expenditure, while total revenue stood at N3.8 trillion. By 2017, this figure reached 86% as N2.9 trillion was spent on non-debt recurrent expenditure, surpassing total oil and non-oil revenue at N3.35 trillion. In 2019, the government spent approximately N4 trillion on worker salaries and running various ministries, departments, and agencies. This was equivalent to the combined amount spent on capital projects, debt servicing, and recurrent expenditure in the entire year of 2014.

Observers have raised concerns about the stark contrast between the government's demands for sacrifice from the people and the lavish lifestyles of public officials, exemplified by the high cost of governance, such as a 25-car convoy or extravagant contingency trips. There are questions about why the federal government continues to finance an oversized civil service structure, particularly when Nigeria is ranked among the top 10 countries with the worst inflation rates. Nigeria's economy had to eliminate fuel subsidies to survive, but there is a sense that the political elite should also make sacrifices by reducing the high cost of governance.

Critics argue that Nigeria is living beyond its means due to the escalating recurrent expenditures. Despite the higher cost of governance, the economy remains trapped in a low growth trajectory. The substantial financial burden of recurrent expenditure has led to confusion among economists and business leaders who question why a supposedly cash-strapped government is losing billions of dollars due to violations of public contract laws.


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