Former National President, National Union of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), Mr. Ade Martins Odigie has doubt whether Nigerians are prepared for the zero-base budgeting system being proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari as it does not give room for any form of financial estimation.
In an interview with the Vanguard, he said:
“This type of budgeting method calls for the actual cost of financial commitments needed for projects development for a fiscal year. For example, if government wants to embark on a community project of let say N10million, it means the exact N10million should be allocated for such project, and not N15million. That way, it does not allow for any financial estimation that is above the actual cost of the project. But the issues that must be taken into consideration are; are Nigerians ready for zero-base budgeting? Are we trained for it?
Many Nigerians expressed shock with the massive irregularities in the 2016 Budget. The Ministry of Budget and National Planning had admitted the errors, blaming it on the zero based budgeting process that the MDA(s) was still trying to fully understand.
However, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura has clarified that that the idea of the zero based budgeting by the ministry was done with good intentions, but was forced to revert back to the old envelop system when it saw the realities on ground.
According to Odigie:
“Zero-base budgeting is a good economic policy because it allows for transparency and accountability in the system. But the economic implication is that, it brings about slow growth because the President, who is the chief accounting officer of the country, must know everything that is spent on any project. As such, it slows down the growth process.”