Abuja – The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has lauded President Muhammad Buhari for trying to resurrect the January-December budget cycle by presenting the 2020 appropriation bill at the National Assembly in October.
BMO in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, in Abuja said that history would be kind to the president for his bold step to re-calibrate the nation’s budget cycle.
This, according to Akinsiju, this will go a long way in ensuring that the country finally begins implementing its national budget from the first day of the fiscal year.
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He added that the move was in line with the Buhari administration’s goal of leaving the country better than it met it.
According to him, for long, Nigeria has had a budget cycle that runs contrary to what is obtainable in developed economies and other countries on a growth trajectory.
“And that is partly due to the fact that annual appropriation bills have almost always, since 1999, been presented to the National Assembly in December, with a May to June budget cycle the norm rather than the exception.
“But in line with his pledge to effect a quantum change in the polity, the president has now proved that what three predecessors failed to do; and did not even attempt, is doable by ensuring that the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) got to federal lawmakers in record time.
“He did not only dare to be different by sending the MTEF/FSP on time, but also in ensuring that the budgets of the country’s major government owned Enterprises (GOEs) are captured in the national budget estimates.
“So, for the first time since the return of democracy, Nigeria is on the verge of having a budget cycle that not only aligns with the business cycle of many financial institutions and other large corporations, but will also provide a leeway for robust planning in the economy.”
Akinsiju said that the 2020 appropriation bill emphasised on completion of on-going projects rather than starting new ones.
According to him, president has shown his readiness to buck previous trend where annual budgets focused on new projects.
“Nigerians must have heard him also emphasising government leveraging on private sector spending through tax credit schemes as well as ensuring a reduction in items that are considered as VATable.
“These, among others, show that this is indeed a budget on the philosophy of sustainable and inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity,” BMO chairman said.
He lauded the leadership of the National Assembly for the convivial atmosphere that pervaded the legislative complex during the budget presentation.
Akinsiju called on the lawmakers to ensure that they pass the 2020 budget in good time to ensure that the Buhari administration’s goal of institutionalising the January to December budget cycle is realised. “Nigerians were witnesses to the show-of-shame orchestrated by the immediate past leadership of the Federal Legislature that characterised the 2018 presentation.
“But with a more matured and civilised set of leaders at the helm of the National Assembly, it is not surprising that there was less drama so that the President was able to present the budget in an atmosphere devoid of rancour and bitter power-play.
“So what is now left is for the lawmakers to give speedy consideration to the bill, similar to what they did with the MTEF/FSP, even though they increased the initial budget estimate of N10.002 trillion to N10.729 trillion.
“We recognise that both chambers did what the constitution expected from them, without acrimony and the Executive had no problem accepting the additional N700 billion.
“This is the type of working relationship expected after 20 unbroken years of democracy and we hope that the leadership of the National Assembly will continue to sustain that trend,” he said.