By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Dean, School of Post-graduate Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof. Suleiman Aruwa, has advised against the plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, to spend $1billion to fight insecurity, saying public spending should take consideration of wealth and job creation in the economy.
He said the government should rather increase its spending on education, health and food security.
In an exclusive interview with The AUTHORITY, Prof. Aruwa, said that for some people, the fight against insurgency had become big business which must go on without end.
He said: “Unless you look at the issue of security from human angle, you will continue to get it wrong. To some people, fighting insurgency has become business.
a�?The soldier earning daily allowance in the Northeast would want the crisis to continue. These are some of the issues government should look into.
“Mind you, there is a problem with military accountability. It is opportunity for some people to make more money from the system.a�?
According to him, “every naira you spend on security here creates more unemployment, leading to more poverty in the country. A country like USA spends on security and grows its economy.”
Speaking further on increased security spending, he said: “You don’t tackle insecurity by massive spending, the more you spend on security, the more insecure we become.
a�?Look at what the governors are doing with the security votes – funding political thugs, some are even importing arms. We need to have a look at the policy effect of huge spending on security.
“What you need to spend to grow the economy is health and education. This is the outcome of a research we conducted. When you focus more on security, you are depleting your productive foreign exchange to bring in the security equipment here.
a�?Value should be placed on health, education, and food and community security. If you create opportunities in these areas, you reduce number of people who are supposed to be threat to peace.
“What is our annual budget, that you are spending $1 billion on security? It is unbearable for the system. Mind you it is an off budget expenditure, the options to fund it can also counter the objectives of the 2018 budget. Have relevant office study the policy effect?
a�?Spending on security cannot bring food to the table of people, except those who are beneficiaries of the funds being released. It has become an opportunity cost on what you should spend on education, economy etc. This is too much for the system and the multiplier effect is negative,a��a�� he stressed.
Continuing, the Kogi state=born academician said: a�?Nobody has told us the cause of insecurity in the Northeast. What make people to seek membership of Boko Haram? What are the security and strategic implications of the crisis? We want to stop it today, but it has created a problem for today and the future.
He commended the Federal Government for the improvement in management of the fuel subsidy regime, saying that “the difference today is that subsidy claims are being verified now. There is a visible link between your claim and presence of what is imported before you can be paid.a�?
According to him, a�?that is an improvement in the fiscal management of the subsidy regime. It is not Uhuru yet, because it is not sustainable.a�?
He urged the government to a�?continue to bear the high cost of importing fuel as crude price and production cost increases. You cannot remove subsidy because of political undertone, hence government will continue to bridge the difference.a�?