ActionAid bemoans poor budget allocation to agricultural sector
Action Aid Nigeria has expressed worry over the two percent budget allocation to agricultural sector.
The group lamented that despite the country being a signatory to the Maputo Declaration for countries to allocate at least 10percent of its annual budget to the agricultural sector it is still paying lip service to the sector.
AAN made this known in an analysis of the proposed 2018 budget for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and made available to journalist during a media training on agriculture budget
They lamented that despite the demonstrated potential and contributions of the sector to Nigerian economic, government over the years has relegated the sector to sector to secondary levels behind unsustainable sector like oil and gas.
The analysis observed that although there has been a gradual increase in the appropriation to the sector between year 2014 to 2018, from 0.9 percent to 2 percent it is still far from what government pledged to do in the Maputo declaration.
It adduced that successive government lack the political will to honour the commitment it made to smallholder farmers adding that by not honouring the Maputo Declaration in the 2018 budget shows that government is still paying lip service to ameliorating the plights of smallholder farmers who produced most of the food consumed in the country.
Action Aid pointed out that although government often argued that resources are too meagre to meet all the international obligations, if truly the food security is utmost as seen in the Economic Growth Recovery Plan and the Agricultural Promotion Policy, it should scale up budget to the sector.
It noted that government must meet and judiciously apply the 10percent budget allocation to the sector and then harvest the growth the sector was suppose to contribute to economic and social development.
The analysis added that, if government would keep to its commitment to the Maputo declaration, of the N8.6trillion proposed budget for 2018, N861.2 billion should have been appropriated to the sector compared to to the N172.8billion proposed leaving a gap of N688.4billion.
It further observed a drop in Capital budget from 74.25percent in 2017 to 68.86 percent which experts felt should be arrested as gains made during the years of 2015-2017 when the capital budget were high could be lost.
It also noted that although N172.7billion was normally budgeted for the sector, the budget can only procure goods and services worth N170.7billion, stressing that to achieve the desired investment impact in monetary terms, the gap of N2.07billion must be filled either by providing additional budgetary resources or reducing inflation.