Economy: Why FG can’t achieve Jan-Dec budget circle in 2019 – Udoma

The federal government yesterday said it is not feasible to achieve the January-December fiscal circle in 2019.

A Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) will however be submitted this month, while the 2019 budget estimates will be presented in November.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this while speaking exclusively to Daily Trust yesterday in Bali, Indonesia, venue of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

He said the delay in submitting the documents to the National Assembly was due to the long recess embarked upon by the National Assembly.

“Now that they resumed, we are submitting the MTEF first this month and the budget next month,” the minister said.

He said the 2019 elections would not distract the implementation of the budget, because the president has ordered that the economic team should sustain the tempo in the economic recovery.

There are concerns that the 2019 budget will be delayed due to the electioneering campaigns and the fall back of the transition.

The government earlier targeted the month of September for submission of the budget documents but could not achieve that because the National Assembly is yet to pass the 2018 supplementary budget owing to its recess within the period.

It added that besides the supplementary budget for the 2018, the lawmakers were yet to approve the external borrowing plans of the government for the implementation of the capital projects.

The government had submitted plans to raise about $2.8billion through the issuance of Euro bond to the National Assembly since September but that is yet to be approved, a situation that also added to the slow implementation of the capital component of the budget.

Earlier at the annual meeting briefings, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, told journalists that as soon as they got the approval from the National Assembly they would raise the money as investors were eager to subscribe due to the positive economic indices of the country.

She said all the proceeds from the euro bond would be channelled towards the implementation of the capital expenditure of the 2018, budget.

She said despite the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget, the government was able to finance capital expenditure with about N460bn at the moment.

Experts had warned that the inconsistency in Nigeria’s budget cycle is giving room for speculations and poor implementation.

Also according to data obtained from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) 2016 Annual Report and Audited Accounts, from 2011 to 2017, the time of approvals of the budgets is well into the New Year.

The earliest was that of 2013 which was submitted to the National Assembly on Oct. 10, 2012 and assented to by then President Goodluck Jonathan on February 26, 2013, indicating a five month time lag.

All others were presented to the National Assembly in December and assented to in April, May or June.

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