2018 Budget And The Systemic Quagmire
Year in year out budgetary process in Nigeria is fast becoming a mere farce and a charade.
The successive governments seem not to have fashioned a way out of the prolonged debates that have seen this very important document go through an endless process, most especially, after the federal government would have presented it to the joint session of the National Assembly.
This appropriation document, which is an estimate of how much the government intends to spend and how to source for the money to spend, has met several brick walls.
While the executive arm of government is claiming to have presented all the details about the individual expenditures of the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the national assembly is claiming that all the details required for them to play their part are not supplied by the various MDAs, but the layman on the street is not completely interested in the nitty-gritty of how the budget is made/plan and approved.
The idea that the budget cycle could commence at the beginning of the year is fast becoming an illusion as all efforts by the various stakeholders to bring this to reality is fading away, as there is no hope in sight, these, the professionals have termed a bad omen and not good for economic planning.
While the national assembly is on a mission to determine the level of implementation of the 2017 budgetary allocations to be able to ascertain what has been appropriated for and what funds should be allocated to what project that should be considered for what purpose.
The watchers are apprehensive as to when the 2018 budget will be passed so that economic activities can be boosted across the federation.
Recall the controversial “budget padding” saga, which saw the suspension of Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin, who accused the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representative and other principal officers of tampering with the budget and made spurious allegations which led to his suspension and have kept him outside the hallowed chambers, denying his constituency of fair representation.
The members felt it is their responsibility to make whatever adjustment to the budget already prepared by the executive, by imputing and removing certain items they consider necessary and unnecessary as the case may be.
The question now will be, can Nigerian government ever get it right with her budgetary processes? Can they ever achieve the passage of the appropriation bill at the beginning of the year? Can the budget ever achieve a 100% implementation in this generation?
Maybe these questions can be answered if the stake is raised and the bars lifted with regards to the quality of legislation, the characteristics of the so-called honourable members, and the qualifications of the lawmakers. The latter reason could be taken a little more serious in that, in a country where we have technocrats as the major players in the economic arena and an SSCE holder makes laws for experts to fill in is a clear indication that things can’t work properly.