Federal Government Commences Preparation For 2018 Budget
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has on Tuesday flagged off preparatory activities for the 2018 Budget, which is based on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the federal government. This came barely 24 hours after the 2017 Appropriation Bill was signed into law.
Anchored by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the process is to ensure that the 2018 Budget aligns with the provisions of the ERGP, and is ready for presentation to the National Assembly by early October this year.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, along with the Acting President, both addressed other ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies of the need to reinvigorate the budget preparation process and ensure that the 2018 and subsequent national budgets are ready for implementation by January of the budget year.
Spokesperson of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, in a statement quoted the Acting President to have said “Going forward, we have agreed with the National Assembly leadership on the necessity to get Nigeria back onto a predictable January-to-December fiscal year. To achieve this, the 2018 Budget needs to get to the National Assembly not later than early October so that the National Assembly can conclude work on it before the end of the year.
“Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are to take responsibility to ensure that, as much as possible, their 2017 Budget is implemented between now and December. They are also to be personally involved in the process for the preparation of the 2018 Budget to ensure that we meet the deadline of submitting it to the National Assembly by early October 2017.”
He added that, they must fast-track the implementation of the 2017 Budget to make up for the lost time and to deliver on expectations, adding that, it also means they have to work faster on procurement issues and effectively manage resources, which are very scarce.
He pointed out that Personnel Costs have continued to be a source of budgetary pressure. Consequently, Mr James tasked all MDAs to collaborate with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, as well as the Ministry of Finance, in their efforts to ensure that only legitimate employees are on the payroll, including full implementation of the IPPIS.
He also tasked the top government functionaries to pay serious attention to the revenue side of the budget “as we need to improve on revenue generation for the funding of the budget.”
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Udoma reminded the officials that the 2018 Personnel Budget Call Circular had been issued to them since April this year, and that work has already commenced on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
He said the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 prescribes certain deadlines for Budget-related activities, which government must endeavor to comply with. These objectives, he said, are particularly important for a government, which has a change agenda. “Delayed national budgets are generally considered as indicative of poor public financial management, which is not good for the image of the government,” he pointed out.
The Minister also noted that the 2018 budget will be the first full-year budget, following the finalization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), and that it is imperative that it is fully aligned with the objectives/priorities of the ERGP.
Meanwhile, the Minister will present the breakdown of the just-signed 2017 Budget to the general public on Monday, June 19, 2017, at the Rotunda Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Abuja, scheduled for 10.00am.