Exposed: Real Reason 2018 Budget Has Not Been Passed
Posted on March 30, 2018 || By: Global News
Several weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2018 budget to the National Assembly, it is yet to be passed, and many controversies have been trailing this fact.
It was opined in some quarters that the 2018 budget has not been passed because some details required for its passage were not submitted, a claim the Budget Office of the Federation swiftly denied.
In a statement, Ben Akabueze, Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, said that media reports suggesting that the FGN 2018 Budget was submitted to the National Assembly without details for some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were inaccurate.
The National Assembly recently criticised the MDAs for delaying the passage of the budget due to their Ill-preparedness to attend scheduled meetings and provide relevant information needed by the lawmakers to carry out their job of scrutinising the proposals.
Akabueze said that on November 7, 2017 when President Muhammadu Buhari laid before the National Assembly (NASS) the Executive budget proposals for 2018 , it had “all the usual details required by the National Assembly to process the budget.”
These details, the statement said, included that of the budgets of all federal MDAs based on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) budget templates.
“Given the seriousness the Presidency attaches to getting the 2018 budget passed so it could earnestly focus on achieving the goals set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-20 (ERGP), which formed the basis of the budget, it had directed heads of ministries and extra-ministerial agencies to attend to any requests for meetings/information by the National Assembly (NASS) with despatch.
“To the best of our knowledge, this directive has been complied with. Should any committees of NASS still experience any issues with attendance of any MDA, the Minister of Budget & National Planning has indicated that he is available to liaise with the particular MDA to ensure full cooperation with NASS by the relevant MDA.
“It will be recalled that the Senate at its February 14, 2018 sitting had complained that some GOEs had not submitted the details of their 2018 budget in a format acceptable to the Senate. It directed these GOEs to submit their 2018 budget details in the format required by the Senate within a week. It is important to note that it is the GOEs, and not MDAs, that the Senate complained about.
“Whilst the budgets of these GOEs are separate and distinct from the main Federal Government Budget, we would like to explain that their budgets were also included, as attachments, in the 2018 budget package presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly (NASS) on 7th November, 2017.
“Whilst any delay in providing these additional details by the GOEs does not affect the early passage of the FGN budget, the Budget Office is following up to ensure that every GOE complies with the directives of the Senate,” the statement said.
But in a sharp contrast, this magazine’s impeccable sources reiterated that the budget has not been passed because there is serious pressure on President Buhari to make some amendments, particularly on the oil and gas sector.
“What we have now is a situation where everybody is trying to protect his own selfish interest, and they have been capitalising on the President’s weakness to pursue that. It is actually a complicated situation that I don’t even know how to explain. But hopefully, it would be resolved soon,” our source said.