FG kick-starts 2018 budget preparations
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has challenged top officials of the federal government to pay serious attention to the revenue side of the 2017 budget, emphasising that improved generation was necessary to fund the budget.
His charge came yesterday as preparatory activities for the 2018 rolled off barely 24 hours after he signed the 2017 Appropriation Bill into law.
The acting president, who flagged off the preparatory activities for next yearâ€™s budget
anchored by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said the process was to ensure that the 2018 budget aligns with the provisions of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
A statement issued by Mr. James Akpandem, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said the budget would be ready for presentation to the National Assembly by early October this year.
Both the acting president and Udoma who addressed ministers, permanent secretaries and head of government agencies harped on the need to reinvigorate the budget preparation process and ensure that the 2018 and subsequent national budgets are ready for implementation by January of the budget year.
According to Osinbajo, â€œGoing 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.â€
He stressed the need for direct involvement of ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies in the preparation of their respective establishmentsâ€™ budgets.
â€œMinisters and permanent secretaries are to take responsibility to ensure that as much as possible, 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,â€ he said
The acting president also challenged them to fast-track the implementation of the 2017 budget to make up for the lost time and to deliver on expectations, adding that entailed that they have to work faster on procurement issues and effectively manage resources, which he said are very scarce.
Osinbajo pointed out that personnel costs have continued to be a source of budgetary pressure and tasked all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to collaborate with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning as well as the Ministry of Finance, in their efforts to ensure that only legitimate employees are on the payroll, including full implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He also tasked the top government functionaries to pay serious attention to the revenue side of the budget as we need to improve on revenue generation for the funding of the budget.
Speaking in the same vein, Udoma reminded the officials that the 2018 Personnel Budget Call Circular had been issued to them since April this year and that work had already commenced on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper(MTEF/FSP).
He said the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 prescribes certain deadlines for budget related activities, which government must endeavour to comply with.
Udoma noted that the 2018 budget will be the first full-year budget following the finalization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and that it is imperative that it is fully aligned with the objectives/priorities of the ERGP.
â€œThe 2018 budget process is therefore being harmonised with the implementation roadmap for the ERGP,â€ he added.
Meanwhile, the minister will present the breakdown of the just-signed 2017 budget to the public on June 19, 2017, at the Rotunda Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Abuja by 10a.m.