With the National Assembly preoccupied with a deluge of executive proposals to execute in and within the next seven weeks, there are convincing indications that the 2018 Budget estimates’ appropriation bill presented by the president, President Muhammadu Buhari may not be passed by the end of the year, December 31st, 2017.
Foster Ogola, a member of the Senate Public Accounts committee, said that due to poor implementation of the 2017 budget, the possibility of passing the 2018 budget into law before December 31st could as well be ruled out. He said this in a chat with Business day Sunday.
The executive proposals to be executed by the National assembly in the next seven weeks include;
- 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP)
- N135.6 billion virement
- 2017 budgets of 28 Federal Government agencies
- $5.5 billion foreign loans
Ogola expressed concerns that the National Assembly’s refusal to stick to laws guiding budget preparations has always been the major challenge facing the Nation’s budgeting process. In his words;
“My assessment is that the implementation of the 2015, 2016 and the 2017 budgets have been poor because of the burden that comes with the budget. What I think has gone wrong is that the planning is done yearly under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). The countries that achieve milestones in budgeting have a five-year budget plan. You review and carryover. But you know what you will achieve in five years time. You know what you will achieve in ten years time.
Again we must plan effectively on how to fund budget. Instead of bringing up an N8 trillion budget and achieving 20 percent, it is better we say N2 trillion budget and you are ensuring that you do everything possible to achieve. from the beginning of the year, you knew there would be another budget for 2018 so you plan who to send you money, who to lend you, what else you do to generate foreign exchange, because if you don’t export industrially, the implication is that nobody will be able to import and there will be no import duty Customs will charge. Nobody will be able to produce so Customs cannot charge Excise Duty. If people are now closing shops, FIRS cannot generate and tax income of people to be able to survive.”
John Enoh, Abdullahi Gumel and Danjuma Goje, members of the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance, in an Interactive session with Kemi Adeosun, Finance Minister, and Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, expressed their opposition to rolling over 60% 2017’s budget to 2018, preferring rather to gradually transit to January-December financial year.