Budgit scores Tinubu low in fiscal transparency

Civic-tech platform BudgIT has rated President Bola Tinubu’s administration as low in fiscal transparency.

In a report, appraising the first-year performance of the administration, BudgIT said, “Fiscal transparency has declined under President Tinubu’s administration. The Budget Office has yet to release the 2023 Q2 Budget Implementation report, despite the Fiscal Responsibility Act’s mandate that it be released 30 days after the quarter’s end.

“Also, the Federation’s Fiscal Accounts, including receipts from all collection agencies and payments out of the Federation Account, have not been released since August 2023, when they were last uploaded on the Open Treasury portal.”

Meanwhile, some economic pundits have shared divergent views about the performance of the Tinubu-led government on its first anniversary.

This was stated in their different reviews of the administration’s performance, which were shared with The PUNCH on Wednesday.

According to a report from Analysts Data Services & Resources, President Tinubu beat the record of his predecessor in his first-year performance.

The analysis, which measured the performances based on 25 indicators under five segments of the economy, namely; output and prices, financial statistics, international finance, public finance, and governance and institutions, indicated that the Tinubu administration scored 53.6 per cent, higher than that of former president, Muhammadu Buhari at 48.8 per cent.

“PBAT is ranked along with the four other past presidents since 1999 on each of these 25 indicators and the average scores are converted to percentages. In addition, some of the policies, programmes, and interventions of the current administration are identified to highlight their possible contribution to the current state of the economy.

“Generally, it is observed that the first-year performance ranking of Nigerian presidents has been on the decline. It fell from the highest level under Obasanjo (72.8 per cent) to the lowest under Buhari (48.8 per cent).

“However, a turning point is being observed under the Tinubu administration, raising overall first-year performance to 53.6 per cent. The strong segment for the Tinubu administration is documented to be public finance (64 per cent), and the weak segment is output and prices (40 per cent),” the report stated.

Analysts at ASDR urged the Tinubu government to “Engage the private sector in the provision of necessary infrastructure to free public resources, collaborate with development partners but be seen as capable of independent thinking and policymaking in a pro-citizen manner, build trust with workers by prioritising their welfare and engaging in discussions to increase wages and productivity.

“The coordinating minister (needs) to be more visible. Make the process of policy formulation and implementation more objective, transparent and evidence-based and constantly keep the citizens informed about the costs and benefits of current reforms.”

Meristem Securities Limited, in its macroeconomic commentary titled ‘One Year in Power: Assessing the Current Administration’s Policy Direction’ issued on Wednesday, highlighted the focus of the administration as of May 2023 and how far it had implemented them.

 “From the outset, the administration expressed its commitment to fostering a pro-growth economy that would enhance both the micro and macroeconomic landscapes. The President’s manifesto and Policy Advisory Council report prioritised key areas for change, including the economy, agriculture, employment, infrastructure, oil & gas, and mineral resources, power, economic policy, digital economy, poverty alleviation, security, education, and healthcare.

“The PAC report also outlined the timeline of the government’s forward targets and achievements over the next eight years, contingent upon re-election for a second term.

“On the side of fiscal policy, the administration has introduced several strategic initiatives aimed at increasing government revenue, enhancing efficiency and optimising expenditure. Key reforms have been targeted at improving the operations of critical sectors to attract investment from foreign companies and individuals. Additionally, the administration has successfully negotiated strategic partnership agreements with other countries,” the report stated.

Meristem said that the success of the administration in the remaining years of its tenure will largely depend on effective policy execution, political stability, and continued public and private sector collaboration.

During Tinubu’s first year in office, the headline inflation rate moved from 22.22 per cent in April 2023 to 33.69 per cent in April this year.

Similarly, the naira depreciated during this period due to its floating from 461.76/$ as of May 2023 to $1,479.69 currently.

On the upside, the Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.47 per cent year-on-year, from 2.31 per cent in Q1 2023 to 2.98 per cent

Crude oil production also rose by 15.65 per cent to 1.33mbpd as of the end of the first quarter of 2024.

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