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APC To Spend N53 Trillion Over Four Years

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Promises, proposals and projects in the 2015 election manifesto of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), could amount to an estimated N53 trillion spending plan in the first term of office, if the party’s presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari is elected into power at the February 14 polls.

BusinessDay estimates that the cost of “Building a New Nigeria”, which is the theme of the APC manifesto, could warrant an initial bill of N6.23 trillion in 2015/2016 compared to the N4.46 trillion “Transition Budget 2015” outlined by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal government.

The 2015 budget has passed a second reading at the National Assembly and could be passed before the end of the current administration in May 2015.

Economists and political analysts believe a supplementary budget cannot be ruled out, irrespective of who wins the elections. More so, they are of the view that the APC manifesto may be rather ambitious and short of financing options.

“I don’t think it is realistic in its expectations for public spending despite its philosophical foundations,” says Opeyemi Agbaje, CEO of RTC Advisory Services, commenting on the manifesto via a phone interview.

“I would have expected the document to show alternative financing methods such as public private partnerships and increased taxation. I accept that there are funding loopholes that can be plugged but there is a lack of realism about the size of these loopholes,”he adds.


High points of the manifesto include the creation of three million jobs per year; employment of 100,000 new police officers; immediate pay increase for defence and security personnel; free meals for primary school children; social security payments for 25 million poorest Nigerians; one million houses per year; interest free loans to university graduates; a N300 billion growth fund; among others.

All these have resultant costs for an APC government, if elected.

On creating three million jobs a year, BusinessDay estimates show that this would amount to N10.6 billion additional public sector wages at the current minimum monthly wage of N18,000.

Public sector wages have been a huge source of concern for government spending, after a 53.7% increase in the federal wage bill was implemented in 2010. The 2015 budget proposes N1.8 trillion or 40% of the budget for public sector wages alone.

Furthermore, the APC plans to employ 100,000 new police officers, which could add another N33.6 billion wage bill per year, assuming a monthly minimum wage of N28,000.

An immediate pay increase for all five security services (Army, Navy, Airforce, Police and Intelligence) is proposed in the APC manifesto as part of a larger plan to double the entire security budget in the first term, if elected. This could cost an additional N246 billion, according to BusinessDay estimates.

The manifesto proposes one free school meal daily for all primary school children, modelled after the O-meal programme in Osun State led by Governor Aregbesola (also of the APC).

Spreading the N250 per child per day programme across the country could cost about N1.17 trillion per year.

The party proposes direct conditional monthly social security payment for 25 million of the poorest Nigerians.

This could easily amount to N1.26 trillion based on an assumption of US$1.25 (N210) cash payment per day.

The poorest Nigerians being targeted include unemployed youths less than 30 years old, senior citizens above 70 years, the disabled and army veterans.

To bridge Nigeria’s 17 million housing deficit, the APC would need about N3.5 trillion annually to achieve its one million housing target per year for the next decade.

The party proposes a National Housing Policy that will collaborate with state governments to achieve this target.

A long term plan to increase health and education spending to 35 percent of the budget by 2025, from the incumbent government’s 15 percent of budget, would add an estimated N81.16 billion of spending yearly.

The APC also proposes a N300 billion growth fund, which compares to the incumbent government’s N220 billion MSME fund.

Wale Edun, one-time Commissioner of Finance, Lagos State believes the policies outlined in the APC manifesto are “progressive, populist and aimed at the greatest good for the common man.”

He further explains that revenue will be generated “through savings from the re-ordering of priorities and plugging of loopholes.

“There are opportunities for public private partnerships and we will not be imprudent in running an expansionary programme.”

He argues that expansionary programmes, monetarism and fiscal relaxation amidst economic challenges, have been embraced all over the world, with a very recent example in Europe.

“It is a big challenge but the intention is to put the 50 percent unemployed youth back to work” Edun concludes passionately during a telephone interview with BusinessDay.

Overall, the APC manifesto seeks to redirect public spending to achieve a “50:50” balance of recurrent and capital expenditure by 2025; a feat yet to be achieved by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999.

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