back to top

Anomaly: BudgIT Raises Alarm Over FG’s Plan To Four Budgets Simultaneously

Share

BudgIT, a prominent civic-tech organization advocating for transparency and accountability, has condemned the Nigerian government’s proposal to extend the implementation period of multiple budgets concurrently, calling it unprecedented and detrimental to the country’s economic stability and development.

The organization’s statement issued its Communications Officer, Nancy Odimegwu, highlighted concerns over the proposed extension of the implementation period for the 2023 Approved Budget and 2023 Supplementary Budget, originally slated to end on December 31, 2023, now extended to December 31, 2024.

This extension, according to BudgIT, deviates from global budgeting practices that observe a January to December cycle.

“The concurrent implementation of four budgets will lead to severe budget credibility issues,” Gabriel Okeowo, Budgit’s Country Director warned, emphasising the adverse impact on revenue projections and the allocation of resources across critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

Okeowo adds, “More worrisome is the fact that the Federal Government is currently drafting another 2024 Supplementary budget, which it intends to implement alongside the 2023 Approved Budget, 2023 Supplementary Budget and 2024 Approved Budget, thereby resulting in the simultaneous implementation of four budgets-an anomaly with no precedence.

“Standard practice should be that projects not catered to within a fiscal year are rolled over to the budget of a new fiscal year.


”The concurrent implementation of four budgets will lead to severe budget credibility issues, as revenues projected in 2024 alone would most likely be used in implementing four different budgets, negatively impacting service delivery in critical social sectors and the provision of essential public infrastructure.”

The statement reminds Nigerians that the 2023 Approved Budget, amounting to N21.83 trillion and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2023, was originally scheduled to be implemented over a 12-month period from January to December, following the standard global practice.

The statement adds, ““In addition, while the 2024 Appropriation Bill was being drafted, the 2023 Supplementary Budget of N2.17 trillion was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu barely two months before the end of the 2023 fiscal year.


“For a brief period, Nigeria returned to the January – December budget calendar in 2019 but retrogressed from the 2020 fiscal year.

“From 2020 to date, the Federal Government has routinely extended the implementation period for the capital budgets beyond 12 calendar months-a practice that negates the principle of annuality of public budgets.

“The National Assembly had initially extended the implementation of the 2023 Approved Budget and 2023 Supplementary Budget to June 30, 2024, and now to December 31, 2024. If allowed to be implemented, the practice would convert Nigeria’s annual budget into a biennial one, a practice neither provided for by the 1999 Constitution nor the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007.”

The critique underscores Nigeria’s sporadic adherence to a January to December budget cycle, which was briefly reinstated in 2019 but regressed in subsequent fiscal years.

BudgIT pointed out that the proposed implementation of four budgets — the 2023 Approved Budget, 2023 Supplementary Budget, 2024 Approved Budget, and the upcoming 2024 Supplementary Budget — poses a significant threat to budget discipline and effective governance.

“This practice undermines the principle of annuality of public budgets enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007,” the statement further elucidated, citing legal frameworks that mandate a single annual budget cycle.

BudgIT also criticized the inclusion of what it deemed “frivolous items” in the 2023 budgets, which it fears will divert resources away from essential projects critical to national development goals and poverty alleviation.

In calling for urgent reforms, BudgIT urged the Federal Government and the National Assembly to rectify the complexities of the current budgeting system and return to a disciplined January to December budget calendar.

The organization advocated for prioritizing projects aligned with Nigeria’s developmental priorities and urged stringent adherence to fiscal responsibility principles.

It says, “To this end, we call on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to amend the complications of this convoluted budgeting system and return to a disciplined January to December Budget Calendar.

“We also urge the Federal Government to identify and implement only the projects and programs that align with Nigeria’s overarching development goals, reduce inequality, and improve the lives of citizens, the bulk of whom are multidimensionally poor.”

Read more

Local News