The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to see to it that the contents of the 2016 budget are fully implemented up to May next year.
Dogara who spoke today, Wednesday while delivering a vote of thanks after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill of N7.3 trillion to the Joint Session of the National Assembly, regretted that low implementation of budgets in the past had led to high rate of project abandonment across the country.
The Speaker said that Appropriation Act must be allowed to run for an uninterrupted 12 months for the Executive to have enough time to execute it.
“This means that both Mr. President and the National Assembly must find a way to continue the execution of the 2016 Budget, especially the capital component till May 6, 2017.
“It is crystal clear that the capital component of 2016 Budget cannot realistically be implemented for only six months. This is so considering the time required for procurement processes and raising of the revenue; including loans by government.
“Except something is done, this will result in yet another failed budget.
“We must therefore put on our thinking caps and ensure that the change promised Nigerians is reflected in our budget process.
“We cannot really make appreciable progress as a nation without significant implementation of the capital component of the Budget.
“The real challenge before us is to make our annual budgets work for all our citizens, especially the poor and the vulnerable.”
The Speaker regretted how frustrating it had been for the nation to go through the annual budget cycle without unlocking the full potential of our citizens, saying: “this is because implementation and execution of the agreed budget is always a major challenge year in year out.
“Sometimes, implementation rate is as low as 30 per cent; most times, it is never higher than 50 per cent at the best of times. This has led to unacceptably high rate of abandonment of projects and distortions in Nigeria’s economic planning.” [myad]