Barely 24 hours after signing the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday morning in Abuja flagged off preparatory activities for the 2018 Budget.
This is based on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
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.
Both the Acting President and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who addressed Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and head of government agencies spoke of the need to reinvigorate the budget preparation process.
According to a statement issued by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Akpandem James, they also spoke on the need to ensure that the 2018 and subsequent national budgets are ready for implementation by January of the budget year.
The Acting President 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.”
Prof. Osinbajo stressed the need for direct involvement of Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and heads of government agencies in the preparation of their respective establishments’ budgets.
“Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are to take responsibility to ensure that as much as possible of 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 said.
He said they must fast-track the implementation of the 2017 Budget to make up for the lost time and to deliver on expectations.
According to him, it also meant they had to work faster on procurement issues and effectively manage resources, which he said were very scarce.
He pointed out that Personnel Costs had continued to be a source of budgetary pressure and therefore 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 were 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 had already commenced on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework /Fiscal Strategy Paper(MTEF/FSP).
He said the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 prescribed certain deadlines for Budget related activities, which government must endeavour to comply with.
These objectives, he said, were particularly important for a government which had a change agenda.
The Minister noted that the 2018 budget would be the first full-year budget following the finalisation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He said that it was imperative that it was fully aligned with the objectives/priorities of the ERGP. “The 2018 budget process is therefore being harmonized with the Implementation Roadmap for the ERGP”, he added.
The Tuesday session, he explained, was aimed at sensitising all top government functionaries and other stakeholders on the ERGP Implementation Roadmap and the critical guidelines for the preparation of the 2018 Budget, to ensure that the 2018 budget was fully aligned with the ERGP.
Meanwhile, the Minister will present the breakdown of the just-signed 2017 Budget to the general public on Monday at the Rotunda Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Abuja by 10.00 am.