BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON, PH.D.
Nigeria; our ancestors are responsible
Some two months ago, the Federal Government, the 36 states and their local government areas had so far shared N1.4 trillion from the federation account, being revenue generated in the first quarter of 2017. The breakdown was contained in the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC.
The key agencies that remit funds into the federation account are Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and Nigeria Customs Service.
The total revenue shared in January between the federal, states and local governments was N430.16 billion, meaning that federal took N168 billion, states, N114.28 billion and local governments, N85.4 billion. The federation grossed in N514 billion in February and Federal Government’s share was N200.6 billion, states, N128.4 billion and local governments, N96.52 billion.
For July ending, a total of N652 billion was shared among the federal, states and local governments in July, the highest so far in 2017.
Idris said the figure comprised of both mineral and non-mineral revenue.
According to the accountant general, gross revenue available from value added tax (VAT) was N81.6 billion as against N79.9 billion distributed in May, indicating an increase of N1.6 billion.
He also said the excess crude account (ECA) stood at $2.303 billion while the petroleum profit tax (PPT) was $68 million.
He said non-mineral revenue increased by N181.2 billion from N157.5 billion in May to N338.8 billion in June.
Giving the breakdown of how the money was distributed to the three tiers of government, Idris said the federal government got N286.5 billion, states N178.6 billion and local governments got N134.9 billion.
With all these millions and billions, let me start in this manner, how much is the current minimum wage...N600 per day, and I know several states that are not paying it, and over a score that are owing the meager 18k per month.
How a family of 6 survives on N600 a day is nothing short of the kind of miracle preached by our god of men.
Before I go far despite all the criticism, advice, and certainly sycophancy around, our democracy is growing, the only point of debate or departure is which direction it is growing, it remains to be seen if it is pro-de-retro-gressive or stagnant.
We say the problem is corruption, yet it seems that continually it remains all talk and glitz, I and many Nigerians continue to watch as the nation is milked in billions and trillions, while the populace cry for a few hundreds and thousands that would take them to the next bus stop.
The trend has continued to be that of a lone mansion in the middle of a village with no road, no water, no hospital and the villagers tell you, "Don’t you know the owner, he/she is in Abuja, or he/she is ex-that or present-this".
After several decades and billions, we are still looking for road maps, where there are no geographical maps, setting agendas with no intent, transforming things that have not been formed, and changing things while they remain the same.
Our leaders continue in their practice of reeling out figures, GDP, PDP, APC and all sorts of figures that do little or nothing in improving lives, the Nigerian stock market has gained over N1.2 trillion since May as the economy exits recession—voodoo economics.
What does this mean to the newspaper vendor that only needs N5000 for tuition in a local 'I pass my neighbor' Kindergarten School that government has failed to provide?
All the noise about pre and post paid meters do no good and remain meaningless to the barbers’ shop that only wants steady supply of electricity to be in business.
How many measures of rice does the above economic voodoo translate to, or how many liters of cooking oil would that buy. The billions and trillions cannot put food on the table; despite all these sharing, the ordinary man knows at every sharing he is farther away from living a desirable life.
Salaries are being owed, a simple track of our budgetary process and the sharing bazaar tells you the story, there are no drugs in the hospitals, roads are in terrible shape, schools with dilapidated structures. Our schools do not work, yet private schools are working both quacks and standard ones, our health system is on the verge but a look at how many health VISAs are issued Nigerian politicians tell you the story and off course you need not ask, where the trillions are going.
Which exactly are the priorities of this once great nation? I know a road that has become a death trap in the eastern part of the nation, that road has been budgeted for in seven layers for four years running, at the Federal, Senatorial, Representative, State, State Assembly, Local Government and Ward level...and the road is still there and remains, a pathway to death for the populace and source of income for the politicians and their lackeys.
Nigerians are tied by all sorts of financial handicaps, the social security of Nigerians is on its knee, even as we battle a dead infrastructural system, we are told of a need to unlock capital for investment...who locked the capital in the first place.
A Minister tells Nigerians that we are sitting on N2trillion of pensioners fund and you need a key to unlock, while pensioners are dropping dead. Anyway considering our voodoo economics of sharing maybe it’s not bad that it is still under lock until ready to be stolen or wasted, in the same manner we watched Jonathan unlock one few years back and we are watching governors throw caution to the wind with the Paris piggy bank money.
A nation of two extremes, at the state level we watch all the drama and voodoo of Private-Public Partner; a conduit pipe for an already leaking system, and the people continue to suffer. At the Federal level we see all kinds of ponzi schemes by the ruling party and inconsistencies by the opposition.
And the few thousand Nigerians, make millions and billions of Naira, and share it out of the majority millions of citizenry, and we beg them to give us a few thousand Naira in the land of billions and trillions. In a land of voodoo economics, do we need a soothsayer to be told that our ancestors are after us—Only time will tell