Experts seek measures to check delay in passage of budgets

Economic experts on Tuesday in Ibadan called for proactive measures to check the annual cycle of delay in the passage of budgets in Nigeria.

The experts, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that prompt passage of fiscal proposals would strengthen the national economy.

An economist, Mr Tunji Adepeju, said the delay in the passage of the 2019 budget was not good for the country’s economy just emerging from a recession.

According to him, there should be legislation that stipulates the timeline when the appropriation bill is to be presented and when it must be passed into law.

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“It is not good that the national budget is yet to be approved as of March 19. In 2018,  it was approved by June.

“I think there should be a legislation that puts a timeline on when the appropriation bill should be presented and when it should be signed into law.

“I believe it should be Jan. 1 of the year in question.

“I cannot see any serious work being done by the 8th Assembly since most of them are not returning to their seats,” he said.

Mrs Lolade Adesola, a financial consultant, on her part, also said finding a lasting solution to delay in passage of budgets was important.

“I will recommend that every necessary document should have been ready and presented to the National Assembly when the president is presenting the appropriation bill.

“This will make the required information available for the legislature to work with and, thereby, ensure speedy passage of the bill.

“The legislature has complained many times that civil servants do not make relevant documents available for them to do their job.

“It may also be that they don’t come as and when due to defend their budgets.

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“Some people even act as if they are above the law.

“Definitely, delaying the passage of the budget is a problem we need to solve in Nigeria; it is a shameful situation for us as a country that our budgets are not approved even before Jan. 1 of every year.

“It is worth looking at critically;  instead of trading blames,  everyone involved should act responsibly,” she said.

NAN recalls that the 2018 appropriation bill was signed into law on June 20, 2018, while the 2017 appropriation bill was signed on May 10, 2017.

Those for 2016 and 2015 were signed on May 2016 and May 20, 2015, respectively. (NAN)

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