2017 budget Experts urges FG to give priority to health, agriculture

They said it would assist in reviving the decay in health sector and boost agriculture in the country.

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A healthcare worker takes a blood sample from an Ebola survivor as part of a study on the disease, in Monrovia, Liberia, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/James Giahyue/Files play A healthcare worker takes a blood sample from an Ebola survivor as part of a study on the disease, in Monrovia, Liberia, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/James Giahyue/Files
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Some experts in the resources management and environmental sector have urged the Federal Government to accelerate funding of health and agriculture sectors.

They said it would assist in reviving the decay in health sector and boost agriculture in the country.

They said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday when reacting to the 2017 budget estimates presented to the National Assembly on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, a human resources practitioner, described the budget as a budget of assurance of better situation in the coming year.

“The prioritisation of Power, Works, Education, Interior and Housing projects is a welcome development.

“However, the allocation to Health and Agriculture is too low considering the extent of decay in health sector and need to boost agriculture for higher productivity in food production.

“We can only force down prices of commodities when we increase productivity in the agricultural sector.”

Ibrahim said the reactivated railway Sector ought to be given more attention to upgrade its current services as a potent alternative to road transportation.

According to him,  the railway sector has large traffic of people with the roads presently in bad shape which has resulted in several loss of lives.

Ibrahim said the Customs and Exercise Department needed to be funded with a view of making it to work with maximum capacity to generate higher revenue for Federal Government.

Also, the Sole Administrator of the Customs Rtd. Col. Hameed Ali had attributed the low revenue profile of customs this year to lack of funds to put necessary infrastructure in order.

According to him, this include payment  of staff allowances to boost their morale.

“With Customs remaining for now as the second highly rated revenue sources, apart from oil, we cannot afford to toy with its financial needs, if alternative revenue sources are to be enhanced.

“On Internally Displaced Persons, measures should urgently be taken to eliminate totally or reduce to the barest minimum, corruption in the intervention scheme aimed at reducing their hardship,” he said.

Similarly, an environmentalist, Mr Habib Omotosho, urged the Federal Government to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Omotosho, the National Coordinator, Environmental Advancement Initiatives,  an NGO,  stressed the need for the Federal Government to work towards reducing emission to the bearest level.

Mr Abdullahi Aremu,  another environmentalist, urged the Federal Government to discourage bush burning by reducing the price of kerosene.

Aremu said if the price of kerosene was affordable, rural women would prefer to use kerosene instead of firewood.