Image: ngyab.com

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, in Abuja, flagged off preparatory activities for the 2018 Budget based on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

This comes barely a week after he signed the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law.

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.

Both the Acting President and the Budget Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who addressed Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and head of government agencies, spoke of the need to reinvigorate the budget preparation process and ensure that future national financial plans 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 no later than early October, so that the National Assembly can conclude work on it before the end of the year.”

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.

“They must fast-track the implementation of the 2017 Budget to make up for the lost time and to deliver on expectations. It also means they have to work faster on procurement issues and effectively manage resources, which he said are very scarce.”

He pointed out that personnel costs have continued to be a source of budgetary pressure, and therefore tasked all MDAs to collaborate with the Ministries of Budget and Finance, in their efforts to ensure that only legitimate employees are on the payroll, including full implementation of the IPPIS.

He also tasked top government functionaries to pay serious attention to the revenue side of the budget, as there is need to improve on revenue generation for the funding of the budget.

Author: Yemi Olarinre