The House of Representatives on Tuesday admonished the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the need to automate the national budget.
As part of efforts aimed at addressing the challenges, the House mandated the Committees on Finance, Appropriations and Justice to convene a legislative summit with relevant stakeholders with the view to improve the budget process in Nigeria.
The resolution was passed following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Honourable Mansur Soro on the need to improve the budget process in Nigeria.
In his lead debate, Honourable Soro stated that the budget was an important policy document that would provide the roadmap and foundation plan for the successful delivery of government expenditure for a specified period.
He argued that failure to get this process right had continued to be almost entirely responsible for the economic shortfall and stunted economic growth Nigeria has suffered over time.
Honourable Soro urged the House to ensure the government seeks a way to return the country to the January-December financial budget timeline.
He maintained that the “annual the budget plays a crucial role in economic management and development policies of the nation, it is the main mechanism of fiscal policy and the tool through which government could stabilize and influence the economic direction of a country.”
According to him, “the House notes that standard global public sector budgetary practice requires the implementation of a defined budgetary framework synchronized with timelines or a standardize budgetary calendar to reduce uncertainties, promote compliance and coordination.
“The Federal Government’s budget process perennially experiences delays despite the best efforts of all the relevant entities involved in the budgeting process.
“The House is also aware that budget delay impacts negatively on economic growth, as 2018 study shows that a 100 days delay in the budget implementation tends to depress the economy by at least 2.5 percent.
“The House is further aware that Nigeria’s experience of prolonged budget process has imposed substantial economic costs on the public and private sectors of the economy.
“The House is concerned that such delay leads to poor budget implementation which has a direct correlation to poor service delivery in public service.
“The House is worried that delay introduces opacity into the budget process leading to induced diversion of public funds and resources, corruption, scourge of the society.
“The House is also worried that foreign and domestic private sector investment is adversely affected due to uncertainty on the strategic direction of the government,” he stressed.