Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Failure to link policies, plans, Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) and annual budgets is the most critical factor responsible for poor planning and budget implementation in Nigeria and many other developing countries of the world, the Minister of Budget and poor National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said monday.
Udoma noted that countries like Nigeria where the planning process is fragmented and not adequately aligned with the annual budgeting process experience difficulty in implementing clear and consistent national policies.
The minister, who spoke in Abuja at a sensitisation workshop on MTSS 2017-2019 organised by his ministry for permanent secretaries, heads of departments and other officials of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), said this had been the nation’s experience over the years.
“In Nigeria, we have not done too well in ensuring that budget outcomes achieve planned targets. Most MDAs have also not developed their MTSS and adopted it as a basis for budget formulation for several years. This informed government’s decision to reintroduce MTSS, the first of which will cover fiscal year 2017-2019,’’ he said.
According to Udoma, this is expected to compliment other strategies of government in fast-tracking the development process in the country.
“As you are aware, MTSS links sector/MDA strategic objectives to over-arching national development goals and it is a key component of the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework).
“The MTSS will compliment the implementation of zero-based budgeting (ZBB) system by ensuring that projects and programmes that are admitted into the annual budgets are in line with mandates of MDAs and clearly linked to government policy thrusts and strategic objectives of improving service delivery to the Nigerian people,’’ the minister said.
Udoma disclosed that the current MTSS exercise would be limited to select critical sectors to support the preparation of the 2017 Budget, adding that there was a plan to roll out the MTSS process to all sectors/MDAs from 2017.
“This is aimed at guiding MDAs for more efficient and effective investment of national resources in critical sectors of the economy, in line with the Change Agenda,’’ Udoma stated.
According to him, for a start, 14 ministries, particularly large capital spending ones, are to be assisted to develop and document their MTSS.
He listed them as the Ministries of Transportation; Power, Works and Housing; Interior; Water Resources; Solid Minerals; Health; Agriculture and Rural development; Niger Delta Affairs and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Others are Education, Defence, Federal Capital Territory, Environment, Science and Technology, and Communication Technology.
To ensure the development of a credible MTSS, the minister noted that effort should be made to capture both existing and new initiatives that will help in achieving the sector goals, and national aspirations.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the MTSS 2017-2019 of these selected ministries/agencies will serve as basis for their 2017 budget proposals. It will also serve as credible input into the development of the 2017-2020 Medium Term Plan,’’ Udoma said.
The minister observed that the theme of the workshop, “Addressing the Approach to Developing the Medium Term Sector Strategies and Plans’’ was not only apt but timely.
The event, he added, was coming at a time when the country is experiencing dwindling revenues occasioned by the declining price of crude oil in the international market, noting that this development had resulted in difficulties in meeting financial obligations by all tiers of government, thus posing serious constraints to national development process.