Renowned economist and Managing Director/CEO, Financial Derivatives Company Ltd, Mr Bismarck Rewane, has said many Nigerians are not interested in the budgetary figures recently presented by President Bola Tinubu but in the rising prices of basic commodities.
According to the economist, Nigerians are more bothered about the rising prices of basic commodities like rice, bread, garri, among others food commodities which is making life difficult for them.
Mr. Rewane spoke during a live appearance on Channels TV Business Morning Show on Thursday, monitored by Persecondnews.
President Tinubu had on Wednesday presented a N27.5 trillion budget, tagged “Budget of Renewed Hope” for the 2024 fiscal year to a joint session of the National Assembly.
He said the proposed N27.5trn budget will ensure macroeconomic stability, poverty reduction, job creation, and greater access to social security, among others.
Giving a breakdown of the budget estimates, Tinubu put recurrent non-debit expenditure at N9.92trn, capital expenditure at N8.73trn, debt servicing at N8.25trn, revenue at N18.32trn, new borrowings at N7.83trn and deficit at N9.18trn.
Analysing the budget, Rewane said: “The people are not interested in whether the budget is balanced and what the debt is. How does it (the budget) affect their day-to-day livelihood? That is the key thing.
“In the end, budgetary arithmetics, budgetary mathematics in economics is of no use to anybody, except we are buying rice at N40,000 a bag rather than N60,000 a bag, we are buying bread N900 a big loaf instead of N1,300 which we are doing today. If we are buying garri at lower prices.
“Many people have become more frustrated in the face of the hard economic realities facing the country. The high level of poverty is already causing mental health challenges for many people.
“You will notice that on the streets of Lagos in particular, the number of lunatics has increased and part of it is driven by poverty.
“We are having many mental health issues. People are pushed to the wall. Some of them walk across the road even in moving traffic.
“People need to feel the impact of the budget. the impact is not going to be felt because of 10 or 12 per cent of GDP, that is N27 trillion; it has to be more. Where is the more going to come from?
“It is going to come from investors and investors are going to come here when they are sure that their money is safe and the environment is clean, and they can look forward to a brighter future.”
He urged the government to be honest with Nigerians on the economic realities, noting that people cannot pretend to be happy.