FG Reassures On Proper Implementation Of 2016 Budget

Ahmed Zainab, Budget ImplementationFederal Government of Nigeria has reassured the nation that it will give priority attention to infrastructure, agriculture and power in the implementation of the 2016 budget.

This was said by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Ahmed Zainab, at a meeting with members of Civil Society Organizations in Abuja on the implementation of the 2016 budget.

Over one month after the 2016 appropriation bill was passed by the National Assembly, some members of the civil society organizations have expressed their concerns about its implementation.

Some of them in the meeting were especially concerned with how the Federal Government would implement the 30% earmarked for capital projects.

A total of 6.06 trillion was appropriated for the 2016 fiscal year by the Federal Government with over two trillion deficit to be financed by borrowing recovered loots.

The Acting Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, Ahmed Abdul, said that government would save over 40 billion Naira to finance capital projects with the adoption of electronic purchasing system in its offices.

The 2016 budget is referred to by the incumbent government as a ‘budget of change’ but analysts say the change the budget proposes depends so much on its implementation.

Reps Call For Full Implementation Of Budget

House of Representatives, BudgetThe House of Representatives says it will continue to support the executive’s deregulation initiative in the interest of the Nigerian economy and posterity.

The House said that the decision was taken on Wednesday after consultation with major players in the economy and based on the understanding and support shown by majority of Nigerians.

It appealed to the executive to ensure the full and speedy implementation of the Appropriation Act 2016, as it is in the act that the palliatives that would calm the current situation.

The lawmakers also urged the organised labour to continue to show
understanding of the situation while dialoguing in Nigeria’s interest.

This is one of the recommendations adopted by the House after considering the interim report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Deregulation of the Petroleum Sector, which was set up after the meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

Experts call For Proper Monitoring Of Budget Implementation

Jonathan Presenting Budget to The National Assembly.Some civil society groups in Nigeria have called for proper monitoring of budget implementation and early presentation of the appropriation bill to the National Assembly, as they pose major setback to the full implementation of the nation’s budget.

Members for the group told Channels Television in Abuja on Friday that while the capital budget makes provision for critical sectors of the economy like power, roads and transportation, only 45 per cent of its implementation had been achieved in the past 12 years.

The Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, pointed out that  beyond the ceremonial presentation of the budget, there should be synergy between government agencies and federal lawmakers to prevent the back and forth arguments that arise during budget presentations.

“This will help in ensuring early passage of the budget,” he explained.

The Executive Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere, expressed worries over the poor implementation of capital budget which currently stands at only 45 per cent while recurrent expenditure, which involves the payment of salaries for the nation’s workforce, has achieved 100 per cent implementation.

They also called for a closer monitoring of ministries, departments and agencies and the avoidance of unnecessary bottlenecks to ensure that Nigerians enjoy social infrastructure.

Year after year, budget worth trillions of Naira is presented to the National Assembly for passage into law.

But after the presentation of this budget, only a little impact is usually felt by Nigerians owing to its slow implementation.

This issue is what lawmakers sought to find out as the president is due to make presentation of the 2014 budget.

Budget implementation is an integral component of democracy and a basic prerequisite for good governance. This has not been so in Nigeria, as only 45 per cent of capital budget implementation has been achieved over the years.

2013 Budget: Kwara State Promises Adequate Implementation

Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara State has given assurance of the readiness of the executive to fully implement the 2013 budget for the benefit of the people.

The governor while fielding questions from journalists during the monthly television and radio programme, ‘Governor Explains’, noted that the government had set up bodies like the Price Intelligence Unit and the Budget Implementation Unit to ensure the implementation of the 2013 budget.

He pointed out that any serious and responsive government would always strive to execute all that is provided for in the annual budget.

The governor also made known his administration’s plan to build what he called mega secondary schools in the three geo-political zones of the state.

He explained that the schools when completed will serve as clusters to other nearby schools as their facilities could be used especially for practical purposes.

The governor also disclosed that the N18 billion bond floated by the immediate past government will be fully paid off by the month of May 2014.

Reps Direct Committee To Produce Report On 2012 Budget Implementation

In a bid to ensure that the 2012 budget is fully implemented, the House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated a joint committee of the house to study the implementation so far and recommend ways to ensure its full implementations.

The report, according to the lawmakers, is aimed at ensuring the full implementation of the budget.

The committee is expected to submit the report to the House within one week.

The resolution is sequel to a motion moved by Abdulrahman Terab (ANPP-Borno) which was unanimously adopted.

Leading the debate, Mr Terab noted that annual budgets were meant to provide for the planning and equitable allocation of resources for purposes of development.

He said that the national budget, if well formulated and effectively implemented, would lead to the achievement of development objectives of the country.

The lawmaker disclosed that Nigeria had infrastructural deficit of over N4 trillion and a very high unemployment rate of over 70 per cent.
He said that the revenue receipts so far for 2012 was higher than what was projected for in the 2012 fiscal regime.

Mr Terab also described the fourth quarter capital releases to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in December as inadequate.
He claimed that only about 30 per cent of money appropriated was actually remitted to the MDAs.

He said that money saved from recoveries, non-oil, unspent revenues and fake subsidy claims were not captured in the 2013 budget estimates.

“If this House does not come to the rescue of the 2012 budget, the dream of Nigeria becoming one of the 20 great economies by the year 2020 can no longer be achievable,” he said.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin (PDP-Kano) said that out of the 60 revenue generating agencies of government, only one remitted up to 50 percent to the Federation Account.

He called on relevant committees of the House to investigate the role of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in the area of budgeting.
He told the House that 15 agencies were absent from the meeting with the committee.

The chairman, committee on Appropriation, John Enoh (PDP-Cross River), urged the House to ensure a conclusive implementation of the 2012 budget.
Mr Enoh noted that unless the House was careful, the budget would witness more abandoned projects than the previous years.

“Given the problem that characterised the 2012 budget, we need to examine the 2013 budget,” he said.

2012 Budget – Capital releases rose to N1.01 trillion

The total releases for this year’s capital budget has risen to N1.01 trillion as the Federal Government announced the release of another N300 billion for the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter release, which represents 75 percent of the total capital budget of N1.3 trillion, according the Ministry Finance, is to ensure that the momentum on capital budget implementation is maintained as the year comes to a close.

The latest release is coming amid criticisms by the National Assembly that the implementation of the budget, which effectively commenced in April, is below expectations.

In a statement issued by Paul Nwbuikwu, the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the ministry said the impact of budget implementation can be gleaned from improvements in various sectors of the economy, including power, agriculture, job creation, transportation, and ports reforms.

Power supply in many parts of the country, the ministry pointed out, “has improved to a consistent level of 15 hours per day” even as it stated that rehabilitation of existing power infrastructure has yielded up to 1000 megawatts of additional electricity.

“NIPP projects are being fast tracked which will lead to an additional 1055 megawatts by end 2012. The prospects for progress in power supply have increased significantly with the imminent conclusion of the privatisation programme,” the statement said.

On agriculture, it affirmed that in pursuit of the 3.5 million jobs target by 2015, 13 new private sector rice mills with a capacity of 240,000 metric tonnes have been established even as one million metric tonnes of dried cassava chips are exported to China.

It also stated that the railway modernisation programme is progressing with the Abuja-Kaduna line is now at 46 per cent completion while the rehabilitation of Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Ibadan lines has opened up new platforms for passenger traffic.

Giving an insight into how the implementation of the 2012 Budget has rubbed off positively on ports reforms, the ministry stated that the clearance time for cargoes in the ports has been reduced from 39 days to seven days.

On job creation drive, the ministry said the Community Services, Women and Youth Employment Programme components of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), which was inaugurated in February 2012 are already working in 14 states.

The target is to create 370,000 jobs per year.

Economist says Nigeria has one of the best budgeting systems in the world but…

An economist, Sam Olisa on Thursday said that Nigeria has one of the best budgeting systems in the world but the only challenge the country face is implementation.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Olisa said the indices to measure the success of a budget should not be the percentage of implementation as suggested by either a Minister or the National Assembly but on its impact on the ordinary Nigerians.

Economist says budget for 2013 better than that of 2012

An economist, Katchy Ononuju on Thursday said that next year’s budget as proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday is by far better than that of 2012.

Mr Ononuju, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said: “This is a much better budget as a proposal of intent than the last one we had. In this, we’ve been able to reduce our exposure to recurrent expenditure. We actually brought it down from the former 72 percent to now 68 percent.”

The economist said the reduction of recurrent expenditure will help release more money for capital expenditure. He said those in government need to ‘put something in for those who voted politicians into place.’

Analyst asks government to trim down agencies’ budget items

A public Finance analyst, Professor Akintola Bello on Thursday said one of the challenges facing budget implementation in Nigeria is the inclusion of too many items on the budget list by government agencies.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Bello said: “I don’t think that our people do budget very well. If you give anything (project) to an agency and ask them to cost it, they will come up with a cost and the costing is so bogus. There is no rationale to the cost; they just put an idea there.”

The financial analyst said the government lacked the capacity to do costing insisting that outlook of the previous budget should determine the subsequent one.

Budget implementation: Senate demands details of funds released to MDAs for 2012

The controversy over the implementation of the 2012 budget seems not settled yet, as the Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and business, Senator Ita Enang, has accused the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) of failing to present to the national assembly details of the funds released to Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs).

Briefing journalists in Abuja, on Friday, Senator Enang stated the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) is required by law in the Appropriation Act, to present to the national assembly details of the funds released to government ministries, agencies and departments.

However, the Senator noted that the AGF has failed to do this, and in essence giving rise to the controversy of the performance of the budget.

According to him, the executive has thereby breached provisions of the 2012 Appropriation Act.

Friction between Executive and Legislature should not be overheated – Doyin Okupe

In the wake of growing tensions between the legislature and the executive, senior special assistant to the president on public affairs has appealed to the legislature not to overheat the polity in the interest of democracy.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Mister Okupe said it is normal for disagreements to exist between different arms of government in a democracy, but  appealed that disagreements must be held in moderation as both arms of government were working to better the lives of the people.

Noting that the present misunderstanding between the two branches of government was unhealthy, the presidential aide expressed the belief that the lawmakers were driven by their passion to ensure the substantial execution of projects as a way to accelerate the nation’s development.

Dr. Okupe said that the Federal Government meant well.

There have been renewed tensions between the executive and the national assembly over the failure of the presidency to implement resolutions reached by the national assembly.

2012 Budget: Court to rule on Jonathan’s impeachment

A Federal High court sitting in Abuja has fixed Friday 14 September for ruling on whether or not to stop the House of Representatives from going ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged budget implementation offences.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole reserved the ruling after listening to an ex parte application brought by the national chairman of the African Liberation Party, Emmanuel Osita Okereke

The counsel to the plaintiff/applicant, Alex Williams had while moving the application prayed the court to grant an interim order restraining the leadership of the House of Representatives from proceeding with the impeachment as it was capable of distracting the president from discharging his duties.

However, Justice Kolawole said he needed time to study the processes to enable him deliver a ruling.

Listed as defendants in the suit are the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the House of Representatives; the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice and President Jonathan.

In his affidavit in support of the originating summons, the plaintiff stated that the move to impeach the president from office for non-implementation of 100 percent of the 2012 budget in July 2012 is heating up the polity.

He also averred that the September deadline issued by the house for 100 percent implementation of the budget which is three months earlier than the end of 2012 calendar year and six months from the end of the 2012 budget / fiscal year is a threat to political stability.