Recently, the Kogi state government made a public admission and disclosure that it has defaulted in paying its workers’ salaries due to huge loan servicing by the State. The State’s Director-General, Media and publicity stated in the report that “. . .the loans were taken by the two previous administrations for projects that did not add value to the state. Sometimes, we repay between N400m and N500m monthly as loans that add no value to the state. These loans were taken by the last two administrations and some of them were invested on projects that were never completed”.
By Jonathan Are, Communications Assistant
There has been a massive outcry over the increasing rate of borrowing by the Nigerian government. The Nigerian public debt profile rose significantly between 2015 and 2017. As at June 30, 2015, Nigeria public debt stock was N12.12tr. However, as at December 2017, the debt had increased by over 72% to N21.7trn, a difference of N8.25trn in two years. It is important to note that this amount is more than the entire budget allocation for 2018. Similarly, Nigeria’s spending on debt servicing in the same period climaxed at 34.02% of the nation’s revenue.
In 2017, Social Action carried out analyses and monitoring of the budgets of the states of the Niger Delta, as part of the process of monitoring development goals and tracking corrupt practices at the subnational level.
A detailed report will be published early in 2018.
Social Action’s budget advocacy activities are aimed at calling attention to the need for citizens to get actively involved in the processes of fiscal governance and engaging the government on incipiencies observed in the budget and the actual performance. Evidence indicates that where this is the case, the performance of governments have significantly improved, thereby enhancing accountability and transparency and reducing corruption.
In the last quarter of every year, Social Action selects up to 150 young activists from different parts of the country to participate in its camp meeting. The Annual Camps are part of Social Action’s programme for Political Education and Mass Mobilisation for Nigeria and have been designed to restore alternative education, build solidarity, and provide skills and tools required to campaign for social change. Discussions focus on the connections between local concerns and global issues and explore alternatives to neoliberalism.
Recently, the conversation on the need or otherwise of restructuring the Nigerian state has gained renewed prominence in contemporary Nigerian discourse, especially with the emergence of groups seeking various degrees of structural changes, including the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Niger Delta Avengers. In response to the need to interrogate the different contending issues, Social Action and the Claude Ake School of Government, University of Port Harcourt jointly organised the Nigeria Social Action National Conference in December 2017 in Port Harcourt.
By Isaac Botti, Programme Officer, Social Action, Abuja.
The Nigerian federal government on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, presented its 2018 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly for consideration and approval. The 2018 federal budget is tagged “Budget of Consolidation”, developed to consolidate on the achievements of the 2017 “Budget of Recovery and Growth”. Taken together, the impression is that the government crafted the earlier budget to revamp and stabilise the economy, while the current proposal is to solidify those gains.
In an assessment carried out by Social Action on ‘states of openness in the Niger Delta’, Edo state came out tops in the statistical analysis of open budget indices.
Social Action has congratulated the Edo State Government for ensuring that Edo State blazed the trail in the open budget process. Social Action’s message was conveyed during advocacy visits to senior government officials in Benin City on 21 July 2017. Officials visited included the Chairman, Committee on Information and Appropriation, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Damian Lawani, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Edo State, Taiwo Francis Akerele and the Commissioner of Budget, Planning and Economic Development, Maryam Abubakar. Social Action’s Public Finance Accountability team included Programme Officers Prince Ekpere and Peter Mazzi and members of Edo State Open Budget Cluster.
From right to left: Doifie Buokoribo (Board member), Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka (Executive Director), Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor (Head of Advocacy) addressing the media at Social Action’s National Advocacy Centre, Abuja
Based on the text of the Press Conference by the Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action), June 21, 2017, Abuja
The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was passed by the Senate in May 2017 (the Federal House of Representatives is still working on the bill). Social Action has undertaken a thorough study of the PIGB. The result of our examination is contained in the briefing paper, “The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), 2017: Implications for the Environment and Local Communities”.
In May 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which is revised version of the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that was presented to the National Assembly by the Yar’adua administration in 2008. This briefing paper by Social Action provides an analysis of the PIGB, which focuses almost exclusively on the creation of new commercial entities to manage privatized national petroleum assets. There is a glaring neglect of host communities’ interest in the proposed new institutions. The PIGB does not provide for health, safety and environment concerns; there is no provision for an end to gas flaring. The PIGB proposes to remove all powers of the Federal Ministry of Environment (and its agencies) over environmental regulation and enforcement in the petroleum sector. Read Full Report
Social Actions and Nigerian groups organise mass rally against fossil fuel and pollution
Mass #Breakfree Actions in Ogoni, Nigeria. On the 30th of March 2017, hundreds of climate activists, as well as concerned and affected Nigerians, joined ongoing actions around the world aimed at pressing home the need to address our dependence on fossil fuels which poisons our planet and threatens to eliminate all of us. This problem is even more pungent in Nigeria where the effects of fossil fuel-related pollution and climate changes are emerging as major disasters. From sea level rises that threaten to consume whole coastal lying communities to crude oil pollutions which continue to deprive many of viable livelihoods, the continued extraction and dependence on fossil fuels has devastating consequences for Nigeria and especially the Niger Delta.