Nigeria Broke, May Not Fund 2023 Capital Projects – Chris Ngige Cries Out
On Thursday, Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity confirmed that Nigeria has completely run out of funds.
He revealed this in Abuja while speaking at a press briefing to commemorate the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour.
According to him, Nigeria may not be able to finance its capital projects come 2023 if it fails to remove fuel subsidy and reduce the cost of government among other actions.
“I can tell you that Nigeria is broke. There is no money to fund capital projects next year. As you can see, the dollar that has been hovering around N500 and N600 is now above N700. The truth is that there is no money anywhere.
The money that the FAAC (Federation Account Allocation Committee) has been sharing is money from taxes, customs and other revenue-generating agencies.
“The National Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) no longer remits money to FAAC. So, the situation calls for patriotism from all Nigerians. The lack of money to fund capital projects would have implication on capacity to create jobs. If jobs are not created, poverty will increase in the country.”
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On the ongoing strike action in the university system, Chris Ngige revealed that negotiations were ongoing between Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Ministry of Education.
However, he warned that negotiating with ASUU without simultaneously doing so with the other university-based unions only linger the strike.
According to him, bit would not achieve quick resolution of the issues.
“I have been Minister of Labour and Employment for seven years. Before, we negotiated with ASUU alone, which then suspended its strike. But NASU, SSANU and NAAT were on strike.
The non-teaching unions locked the classrooms and lecture theatres. They also shut down electricity and water supply to the universities, which almost led to outbreaks in those campuses.
“So, what I am saying is that negotiation with ASUU will not lead to the reopening of the universities. All of them must be involved in the negotiation.”
Speaking further, Chris Ngige revealed that the Federal Government of Nigeria had invested billions in social protection to fight poverty in Nigeria.
He added that the country cannot put more money into the social protection net to end child labour.
“Can we put in more money? For now, the answer is no. Can we retain the former amount that we are putting there, N500 billion? The answer is difficult because the earnings are not the same,”
Also speaking at the event, Vanessa Phala, the Director of International Labour Organisation (ILO) country office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS, lamented that development plans and budgetary allocations for social protection have remained low in the nation despite numerous policies at national and state levels.
Credit; The Sun