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We’ll have extensive consultation in developing medium term plan – Udoma

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that the ministry will embark on extensive consultation in developing a medium term plan and expected to last for about three to four years.

Udoma made the statement while answering questions from newsmen at the 2016 Annual Public Lecture of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said: “we already indicated that in terms of our medium term plan, we are going to have extensive consultations.

“We are going to consult the NASS (National Assembly), civil society; organised interest groups and the general public because we want to make sure that the input of all Nigerians are captured in developing our plans.

“ Some areas have been indicated that we could improve upon and so we will take all that into account as we move forward.’’

The minister explained that the strategic implementation plan was meant for the 2016 budget and the time frame would be the fiscal year of the budget.

He explained that the strategic implementation plan had up till May 2017 to be implemented as provided in the Act by the National Assembly.

He further said that work was being done presently on a medium term plan which was expected to last for about three to four years.

Udoma said the government was working at strengthening the monitoring and evaluation department within the ministry.

He said, “ we are also strengthening our linkages with all the MDAs. We have actually recruited additional people to also help us in doing that because a budget is only as good as the implementation and the implementation is strengthened by your ability to monitor.

“As I indicated, we are not going to release capital automatically every quarter, it will be based on performance and that performance can only be determined by strengthening our monitoring.”

Also, Prof Mike Obadan, a Professor of Economics, University of Benin, called for proper handling of planning and budgeting procedures in the country.

He said that improper handling of these procedures were the cause of increased poverty and unemployment in the country.

“Unemployment rate today is a little less than 30 per cent, poverty incidence is still around 70 per cent, human development is very low and per capital income is also relatively low.

“This is such that Nigeria is still classified as a lower middle income country and that is even because the gross domestic product was rebased.

“If it was not rebased, the overall human development index which reflects income of the citizens, life expectancy and quality of education is very low because we haven’t gotten our planning and budgeting right in the country,’’ he said.

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