The delay in the presentation, passage and implementation of Nigeria’s annual budget seem to have become a tradition.
The trend has a negative effect on the nation’s economy as the real sector does not thrive pending the passage of budget. This is because the national budget is an essential planning and fiscal instrument that shows a nation’s priorities and its scale of preference in solving its myriad of challenges.
The budget is basically an estimate of a country’s revenue and expenditure within a financial year. It allocates monetary resources to all sectors and creates certainty and direction for the economy. But it is rather disheartening that year 2014 has rolled into its third month without any sign that the budget proposal will soon be passed into an Appropriation Act by the National Assembly.
One of the factors which has delayed the passage of the budget proposal is the fact that legislators in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have expressed divergent views on certain aspects of the Appropriation Bill. Although the 2014 Appropriation Bill has been christened “Budget for job creation and inclusive growth”, many legislators believe that the fiscal structure is certainly not consistent with the objectives of job creation and inclusive growth in Nigeria. Indeed, while some legislators have called for its passage, others believe it should be returned to the executive due to certain lapses.
As part of the agenda-setting role of the media, the Editorial Board of TheEconomy magazine contacted Mike Obadan, a Professor of Economics at the University of Benin, Benin City and former Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Economic Management and Administration, Ibadan to do an in-depth analysis of the proposed 2014 federal budget. Essentially, Professor Obadan’s article is a critical analysis of the budget from an expert’s point of view, highlighting some unanswered questions by the Appropriation Bill. He has also made recommendations in relation to the modalities for improving budget implementation performance. We believe that the salient issues raised by the ebullient professor of Economics will guide the legislative and the executive arms of government in fast-tracking the passage and implementation of the 2014 Budget.
It is also our hope that henceforth, the federal government will fashion out a robust template for budget preparation to ensure that the country can quickly move close to having the budget ready for use by the beginning of the year as is the case in developed countries where the budget is always accorded the priority attention it deserves.
Professor Obadan’s review of the 2014 budget is not only analytical but also factual and revealing. Happy reading