Tony Ailemen ,Abuja
There are strong Indications that the prolonged delays in passage of 2016 budget will impact negatively on its implementation as government has admitted that it cannot guarantee full implementation.
The 2016 budget, aptly titled “Budget of Change, provides for aggregate expenditures of N6.06trn and was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in the presence of Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, members of the federal executive council as well as other top government officials at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Friday.
Apart from the delayed passage, dwindling oil revenue amongst others are some of the challenges likely to impact negatively on the 2016 budget.
But President Muhammadu Buhari while signing the budget, it will trigger concerted efforts to reflate the Nigerian economy.
“In designing the 2016 budget, we made a deliberate choice to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy despite the huge decline in government revenues from crude oil exports. This is why we decided to enlarge the budget deficit at this time, to be financed principally through foreign and domestic borrowings. All borrowings will however be applied towards growth-enhancing capital expenditures”
He revealed one of the key elements in the budget which he said is an immediate injection of N350bn into the economy by way of capital projects.
“To illustrate our renewed commitment to infrastructural development, the 2016 budget allocates over N200billion to road construction as against a paltry N18bn allocated for same purpose in the 2015 budget”
He also assured that despite the current difficulties ” we will work extra hard to achieve our revenue projections Our revenue generating agencies are coming under better management and are being re-oriented. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is expected to contribute significantly to improving transparency over government revenues”
“We are experiencing probably the toughest economic times in the history of our Nation. I want to commend the sacrifice, resilience and toughness of all Nigerians young and old who have despite the hardships continued to have hope and confidence of a great future for Nigerians. But permit me to say that this government is also like none other. We are absolutely committed to changing the structure of the Nigerian economy once and for all”
“We are working night and day to diversify the economy such that we never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country. So that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles, produce most of things we use. We intend to create the environment for our young people to be able to innovate and create jobs through technology”
“I cannot promise you that this will be an easy journey but in the interest of so much and so many we must tread this difficult path. But I can assure you this government you have freely elected will work with honesty and dedication day and night to ensure that our country prospers and that the prosperity benefits all Nigerians. God bless Federal the Republic of Nigeria.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki in his remarks described the passing of the appropriation bill as ” the most difficult all over the world”
According to him” even in America that we copy sometimes, the government is shut down, we didn’t see that in our case.”
” It is a first time, is a new government so these sorts of challenges are rare. But I’m happy we are all here to see that we have passed the budget and the President has and what we await now is implementation. I want to assure Nigerians that from the comment from the mouth of the President our commitment is to see that the budget is implemented, is not just the assent is now the implementation that is when Nigerians will begin to see the benefits.”
” Like I said let’s focus on the good part and play less on the controversy that is behind us now and I want to assure Nigerians that the benefit expected from this budget is implemented”
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and Minister of State, Zainab Ahmed, who briefed State House Correspondents, shortly after the President’s assent, lamented that government was not likely to implement the budget in full.
“We are not likely to fully implement the 2016 budget but we will try our best.”
He disclosed that he will be providing full details but admitted that the signed budget is based on projection of $38 per barrel of crude oil at a production rate of 2.2 Million barrels per day.
He also assured that the 2017 budget will go to National Assembly in October to avoid recurrent of the recent delays and achieve January to December budget cycle
“The most important time for road construction is dry season. A lot of consultation will take place, ahead of the 2017 budget