Opinion: Doubts Of Doomed Failure Over President Buhari 2019 Budget
The 2019 budget might be doomed to a failure of implementation due to its hasty preparation and generic computations. Fiscal experts were also quick to add that the outcome of the “yearly ritual” would largely depend on the political weather following next year’s general elections. This is as the House of Representatives yesterday gave the nod to President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2019 Appropriation Bill today.
The dramatic approval and compilation of the fiscal appropriation proposal in less than three months therefore call to question when and how stakeholders’ input was aggregated. A fiscal governance campaigner, Eze Onykpere, queried: “Where is the 2018 federal budget? To what extent have we implemented its capital components? What is the level of capital budget implementation? We just went for the Eurobond, so at what time do we intend to utilise it?”
He described the budget presentation as a stunt and an attempt to merely fulfill righteousness. There is no basis for optimism on a budget presented to the National Assembly on December 19, he said.
“The Christmas and New Year legislative break has already started and the National Assembly is just waiting to receive the budget before it proceeds on its vacation. Of course, it is a notorious fact that we are in the season of campaigns and no reasonable person expects the legislature to touch the budget until after the elections, sometimes in March 2019.”
An Abuja-based development consultant, Jide Ojo, regretted that the budget process worsened under this administration. “Even the presentation on December 19 is threatened by the strike of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) and walkout by members of the House of Representatives.
“The executive, which has been tardy with the budget preparations is to blame. Imagine that the 2019–2021 MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) was sent to the National Assembly on November 6, 2018. This delayed budget presentation is a blatant breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
“This uncoordinated and capricious budgeting by the Federal Government will impact negatively on the implementation and performance of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan as well as the newly launched economic blueprint of the Buhari administration.
“As things stand, the 2019 budget, even if presented on December 19, will not be passed till after the 2019 elections. That will impact negatively on the private sector and indeed the public sector’s economic planning,” said Ojo.