…Says 2019 elections won’t affect implementation
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC
Director General of Nigeria’s Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, has disclosed that all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have complied with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to submit details of their 2018 budget estimate to the appropriate committees of the National Assembly.
The president had last month given March 23 as deadline for all agencies, corporations and government-owned companies to submit details of their 2018 budget estimates to the appropriate committees of the National Assembly.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the 2018 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, Akabueze assured those seeking updates that the compliance is total.
Asked what plans are in place to drive aggressive implementation as soon as the budget is passed, the DG Budget said, “the MDAs learning from the experience of the past are gearing up for the budget to be passed and taking preliminary steps in their procurement and waiting for the budget. We hope that as was the case for the 2017 budget, though not passed until June, we still managed to attain a nominal level of capital expenditure that is the highest in the nation’s history.” Asked the amount spent on capital expenditure in 2017 budget, Akabueze said, “as of the last count, about N1.3 trillion had been released on the capital budget for 2017.”
On why recurrent budget was still high, he said, “when you look at the high non-debt recurrent component of the budget, 70 per cent of that is personnel cost. Therefore, the only realistic way you can drastically reduce recurrent expenditure now is to cut personnel. At this time, that is not an option the government is looking at. The focus now is on containing other aspects of recurrent expenditure and shoring up revenue.”