2018 Budget: Why Nigeria may suffer another delay in passage of appropriation — NASS
2018 Budget: Lack of consultation between Executive, MDAs, NASS committees may delay passage — Dogara
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday said the 2018 Budget preparations suffered from inadequate consultations between the Ministries Departments and Agencies and various oversight committees of the National Assembly.
He added that one could only hope and pray that the situation does not lead to delay in consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill.
He, however, promised that the National Assembly would expedite action toward consideration and passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill for assent by January 2018.
Dogara said this in Abuja while delivering a vote of thanks at the presentation of the 2018 Budget Proposal, estimated at N8.61trn, to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Speaker said the National Assembly would ensure that the budget was returned to the Executive in January for the President’s assent.
While assuring that the National Assembly would not delay in working on the proposal, Dogara, however, expressed concerns over the level of implementation of the 2017 budget.
He said what agitated the legislators was the prospects of totally abandoning the 2017 Budget and the dire consequences of doing so.
‘‘The questions that must be answered include whether we have effectively enforced 2017 fiscal targets and whether managers have complied with the budget, as authorised by the legislature.
‘‘Our experience with the implementation of the 2016 Budget amply demonstrates that obeying our Appropriation Laws maximises the release of our potential, while violating the Appropriation Laws caps the release of our national potential.
‘‘This means that we have to redouble efforts in implementing the 2017 Budget if we must retire it in January or, at the very least, roll over most of the projects in 2017 budget to 2018.
‘‘No need to remind us that fiscal indiscipline is as grievous a problem as corruption, which this government is busy eliminating.
‘‘Let me place it on record that the 2018 Budget preparations suffered from inadequate consultations between the Ministries Departments and Agencies and various over-sighting committees of the National Assembly.
‘‘Consequently, one can only hope and pray that it does not lead to delay in consideration and passage of the Budget,’’ Dogara said.
The Speaker, who commended President Buhari for leading the country out of recession, however, said many Nigerians were still confronted with economic difficulties.
‘‘Although recession has technically ended, most Nigerian families are still struggling. As a government, we must do all within our powers to hasten their long night of panic and fear into a glorious morning.
‘‘We must never allow this nation to slide into recession, not now, not ever again.
‘‘We cannot therefore discountenance policy consistency and synergy between all stakeholders, if we must sustain economic growth and development, going forward,’’ he said.