Little earner, big spender: The federal government's troubled finances
Government revenue and spending. Source: Stears Business

“Aja ti o ma sọnu ko ni gbọ fère ọdẹ” is a famous Yoruba adage that means: a dog destined to be lost never hears the hunter’s whistle.

For years, multilateral institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and domestic experts have cautioned the Nigerian federal government (FG) on the state of its finances. To paraphrase: “reduce your unnecessary spending, and generate more income,” they have said. 

But very little has changed, and current trends don’t show that it will. Just last year,  the federal government earned ₦3.9 trillion, yet it spent ₦10.1 trillion—more than two times its earnings. 

The interesting part is that ₦3.3 trillion—almost all the money earned was spent to “service,” not repay debt. This was seven times more than the FG could spend on the health sector last year. For more context, it means that for every ₦1 the FG earned, it spent 85

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Adesola Afolabi

Adesola Afolabi

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