President Mahamadou Issoufou defends controversial 2018 budget

An increase in taxation and a cut in spending. This is the objective of the 2018 budget that was passed in the Nigerien parliament a few days ago.

While the budget, whose stated objective is to release funds especially for education and health, has been welcomed by the International Monetary Fund, sections of civil society strongly oppose it.

Their argument is that the finance law is antisocial.

"This law is not antisocial, we need resources to protect Nigerians, 17% of the budget will be spent on security, and a lot of the resources in this budget will go to education, vocational training and technical training.There is a large part of the budget which is devoted to healthcare, providing good drinking water a

But Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou thinks otherwise.

“This law is not antisocial, we need resources to protect Nigerians, 17% of the budget will be spent on security, and a lot of the resources in this budget will go to education, vocational training and technical training.There is a large part of the budget which is devoted to healthcare, providing good drinking water and food … here is no country where we do not pay taxes, basically the tax burden in NIger is still very low. “ he said

On October 29, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators during a march deemed illegal by authorities.

A Nigerien court recently ordered the release of three leaders of the association behind the march.

They had been jailed for three weeks following the clashes on the sidelines of the demonstration.