*Post mortem of 2016 budget
We must congratulate the Minister of Budget añd National Planning Udo Udoma, for “managing” to get the 2017 budget to the National Assembly against all odds when he did. The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), only arrived the National Assembly 24hours before the President presented the 2017 budget estimates.
Ordinarily, we should be singing hosanna – as the 2017 budget is 20.4% bigger in size than the 2016 budget. The capital expenditure is 30.7% of the total budget, because the government wants to “pull the economy out of recession”. The president attempted to lay the blames for the failure of the 2016 budget on the newly introduced Zero Based Budget. I beg to disagree sir. The major problem with the 2016 budget was the blunt refusal by the Executive (Budget Office of the Federation), to use the IPSAS compliant Budget Format approved for use for all the Levels of Governments in Nigeria effective 1st January, 2014.
For instance, the Medium Term Projections of Aggregate Revenue, Expenditure and Financing by Economic and Programme and Actual of the two preceding years was not included in the 2016 Budget. It’s inclusion would have provided a comprehensive overview of fiscal prospects to all stakeholders.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning is hereby put on notice, to ensure that the 2017 Budget is presented to the National Assembly and published in IPSAS Compliant Budget Presentation Format in the Six Segments of the National Chart of Accounts. This will allow all the stakeholders to do the analysis of the budget from several perspectives and in the appropriate context.
If Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Anambra, Gombe and Adamawa States can present their 2016 Multi-Year Budget in IPSAS Compliant Budget Format, the Federal Government has no excuse at all. In each of these states, their 2016 Multi Year Budget contains two preceding years actual and budget data for the previous years’ Appropriations by the State Houses of Assembly.
In Nigeria, we have perfected the act of putting the cart before the horse so the National Assembly will unquestioningly consider the 2017 budget without asking vital questions about the implementation of the 2016 budget. Lack of Budget implementation report is one factor why no significant impact is made by Nigeria’s budgets and its telling effect in the failure of government to achieve its objectives – good roads, healthcare facilities, good schools, reduction of the unacceptable high level of unemployment and the poor standard of living.
Thankfully we can ask. And we will ask those critical questions as issues in budget management in Nigeria remains lack of access to budget implementation report in the Six dimensions of the national chart of accounts. Implementation is the actual expenditure or application of public funds in carrying out the activities of government as captured in the budget. So the Minister of Finance must stop “talking in releases” but in “actual.”
The questions: Of the N1.5 trillion budgeted for capital expenditure that the Minister of Finance claimed to have released (please note that releases are not actual expenditure, but authority for MDAs to spend from their Appropriations by the National Assembly), how much of this was spent on Purchase of Fixed Assets, Construction/provision of fixed assets, Rehabilitation and Repairs of Fixed Assets, Preservation of the Environment, Acquisition of non Tangible Assets in each of the Geo- Political Zones?
And the impact? The 2016 budget based on Geo Location is presented below:
In the next six weeks we will take a state from each of the six geo-political zones and analyse the impact of the 2016 budget on their lives or the lack of it.
As per the table above, the North Central geo-political zone, Benue State was allocated N6.4 billion for capital expenditure. The key projects included the completion of the main theatre, rehabilitation of the hemodialysis and digital x- ray machines at the Federal Medical Center Makurdi. Equally important were projects listed for implementation under the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority- completion of Ber Agbum dam etc. required to boost agriculture and reduce poverty in the state.
Source: Reformatted 2016 Budget by Mold Treasury Academy, Kaduna
The Honourable Minister of Finance would do well to inform the good people of Benue State and all Nigerians which of the above projects were implemented from January 2016 to date and the impact of the expenditure in the lives of those living in and around Benue State and Nigeria in general.