OPINION: GOVERNMENTAL PROFLIGACY AND BURDEN OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

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By Humbe Gabriel

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission is an institution of federal government that is charged with the responsibility of regulating the expenditure of the government in conformity with best global economic and fiscal practices.

It, however, calls for some concerns if the commission also superintends over the state governments. Such would have helped to mitigate our pains, even before now.

The best global economic practice prohibits ostentatious consumption by any government. Such consumption is badly financed by resources that ought to have been used for capital projects that will help impact positively on the welfare of the citizenry.

Consequently, while it lowers capital projects, it heightens recurrent expenditure as a huge burden.

It is worsened when such consumption is financed by debts incurred from any source by the government. Debt or borrowing in itself is not bad. Every country of the world is indebted.

To my utmost surprise, while studying International Finance under International Economic Relations, I discovered the huge indebtedness of the United States.

What, however, differs among countries is that, while many countries borrow to finance consumption, the U.S borrows to finance investments and capital projects with long-term potency of enhancing the economy.

From this background, it is unthinkable that a government that came on board with a mantra of change would embark on a self-destructive act within its first 100 days. What it means is, we will be celebrating 100 days of debt burden, soon.

This act is the borrowing of N10billion to finance the purchase of luxury cars for its functionaries or officials. One would have ordinarily expected the government to have revived the Taraku Mills, the Otukpo Burn Brinks, The Juice and Tomatoes Blending Companies, etc.

Instead of doing the needful, the government pre-occupied itself with the awkward necessity of buying very expensive cars for its use. While a state like Edo is borrowing to save the future of its people, we have borrowed to buy cars. This act directly touches our sensitivity and exposes the paucity or dearth of financial or fiscal prudence on the part of the government which bestrides itself as populist.This act is not just condemnable to attract clarification from the media managers of the government. It is indicative of an ill-fiscal oriented regime.

Within hours, Benue has been plunged into the abyss of huge debt. It makes no difference that there is a comfortable period within which our debt will be repaid. These debts will hunt our pride.

This writer believes that the category of cars distributed to government functionaries is clearly indicative of a flare for ostentatious consumption.

In an era that the government cannot comfortably discharge its prime responsibility of paying workers, the same government is splashing cars worth N7.5million each on its officials with a 6-month tenure of office. I don’t want to dwell on other categories as the government is yet to openly declare the purchasing cost of the Prados and the Hilux Vans. This may be to cushion the bad blood already flowing in our nerves.

On a light note, my friend reminded me of the need to surpass the vehicles used by the functionaries of the previous administration. Needless to say that the times are different with different start-up challenges. Situational analysts hate hasty generalization and bad comparison of policies and programmes. Each case should be treated differently.

Whichever way one chooses to look at this piece, the writer is perplexed with the priorities of the government. This government and its functionaries should have made good sacrifices in order to truly give it a populist colouration which can help further propitiate it in our lateral minds.

First impression, they say, matters a lot. There cannot be any sane rationalization of this colossal default.

GABRIEL IS A POLITICAL SPECTATOR AND PUBLIC COMMENTATOR

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