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FG raises fresh concern over 2018 budget Implementation

…SGF alludes rise in political activities

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, on Thursday hinted that political activities expected to peak in the current fiscal year will undoubtedly affect the implementation of the 2018 budget of N8.612 trillion.

Boss Mustapha dropped the hint at the National Assembly during a meeting he held with the Senate Committee Federal Character to defend the 2018 budget proposal for his office.

He said the expected electioneering campaign and other political activities will expectedly made big impact on government activities, most especially the economic process.

The SGF, against this background called for a speedy passage of the budget proposal of his office for 2018 by the National Assembly this month as requested by the President so as to have ample time to for implementation before politics sets in.

He said, “Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had directed that preparation for the 2019 general elections should commence in July this year, therefore, politicians particularly in the executive arm of government, would be politically engaged which would no doubt having its toll on governance driven by budget implementation .

“I will make an appeal that the 2018 budget be passed on time. We do not have time. If you consider the time left for us as politicians and in line with the timetable released by INEC, you will realise that we have till November 2018 to do what we have to do.

“By then, politicians will be engaged in political activities. There will be no time. I am appealing that we pass this budget on time. This is the last budget we will have to deliver on the dividends of democracy. For those of you coming back, promises will not work. What will work will be the scorecard.

“The surest way out of preventing serious hiccups in budget implementation this year is for it to be passed into law as soon as possible “, he stressed.

The SGF also told lawmakers that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the setting up of a monitoring unit in his office, to track budget implementation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Mustapha said ministers had been given a template to collate projects executed since 2015, when Buhari came into office.

He added that the outcome of the exercise will assist Nigerians in assessing Buhari’s government at the end of his administration.

He added, “Let me assure you that whatever the National Assembly budgets for the MDAs, Ministers will give detailed reports on what they have done since 2015.

“From now till the end of February, they will give briefings. We have given them the template they need to use to carry out this exercise. At the end of the exercise, the entire tenure of the President will be assessed at a glance. The exercise is ongoing.

“At the end of the day, we might seek government’s approval to create a unit that will monitor projects. In some countries like the United Kingdom, there is such a unit in the office of the Prime Minister.”

Olufemi Samuel, Abuja

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