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When Will Nigeria Have A Budget For 2018?

Not a few financial experts have experts have expressed worry over the delay in the passage of the 2018 Budget by the National Assembly.

They said that the continued delay in the passage of the bill by the National Assembly was affecting the recovery of the economy.

According to them, it was shameful that


the N8.612 trillion Appropriation Bill, which was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly on November 7, 2017, was yet to be passed six months after.

To Dr. Samuel Nzekwe, a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), the delay created confusion within the system because there was no way the economy could move forward.

According to him, lack of cash in the system has also led to more poverty and suffering among the citizenry.

Nzekwe said: “There is no liquidity in the system and this has affected the nation’s capital market as the government is the biggest spender in any economy.

“People do not have sufficient funds to throw around by investing in the stock market as they used the little they have to keep the body and souls together.”

Besides, the one-time ANAN president said the delay was taking a debilitating toll of on local contractors. He urged the legislature and the executive to resolve their difference and pass the budget.

Nzekwe urged the MDAs yet to defend their votes in the budget proposals to do so in the interest of the country.

A former Director, Budgetary Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Titus Okunronmu, noted that the passage of the national budget had in the last three years suffered undue delays.

The former CBN director stressed that there was no country where budget passage is being delayed until May.

He said: “This development will obviously affect Medium Term Programmes as well as slow down economic development in the country.”

Okunronmu advised the Federal Government to put its house in order and do the right thing at the right time to pave the way for meaningful development.

Prof Uche Uwaleke, the Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said the delay was hampering full recovery of the economy.

Uwaleke said the blame game by the lawmakers and the Presidency was not good for economic growth and development.

According to him, blaming the MDAs for not providing the required information on their budgets showed that the lawmakers were yet to get the budget formulation process right.

The professor said: “Going forward, this crucial stage of the budget process needs to be made more transparent and inclusive with the input of the National Assembly accommodated at the early stage before the document is finalised and formally presented for consideration.

“More importantly, specifying timelines for stages of the budget is needed now more than ever before.”

Prof Sheriffdeen Tella of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, also described as shameful that almost six months after the 2018 Budget estimate was submitted to the National Assembly, it was yet to be passed.

Tella said the legislature failed to perform its function of completing the consideration and authorising expenditure five months into the year.

He said: “It seems they do not know that one of the main duties of the National Assembly is to pass the federal budget on time to facilitate economic growth and development.

“Non-passage of the bill has locked down rapid recovery from the recession and movement towards growth. This is because capital expenditure aspect of the budget, which has higher growth multiplier effects on the economy, cannot be executed without authorisation of the budget by the National Assembly. So, production on major fronts is put on hold, so also is employment opportunities.”

According to him, Nigeria’s economy is public sector-driven and when government is not spending, even the private sector is held down.

Tella said: “In many states, when civil servants are not paid, the patronage in local markets would be very low and poverty becomes glaring in many households.

“The legislators should do less of politicking with the lives of Nigerians and the Nigerian economy, but focus more on what they are being heavily paid for.

“The problems they have with the executive arm should be solved without holding the Nigerian economy down.

“In other climes where literacy level is high, such action is enough to vote them out for a new crop of legislators who have interest of the common man at heart.”

The Punch reports that Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director of APT Securities & Funds Ltd, described the situation as unfortunate for a country that just exited recession and should be concentrating on recovery strategies.

Kurfi urged the Senate President to rise beyond complaining and sanction those responsible for the delay, saying that National Assembly failed to keep to its April target for passing the budget, a development he noted, was unhealthy for the economy.

“The budget should have been passed latest by January as it was submitted early”, Kurfi said, adding, “I hope that National Assembly does the needful by ensuring the approval comes this month to enable the economy grow faster.”