Written by Sarah NEGEDU

2017 budget in its final stage of preparation Udoma

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma, has assured that the 2017 national budget will soon be presented to the lawmakers for approval, as the document is in its last stage of preparation.

Reacting to the perceived setback in the budgeting process as expressed by some Nigerians, the minister said the federal government was still drawing up a comprehensive medium plan to incorporate the economic recovery and growth plan as part of the last stage of the preparation for the 2017 budget. 

Udoma, who spoke at the recent National Economic Retreat held in Abuja, told participants that proposals from the retreat would serve as input to the 2017 budget. He said contrary to allegations that the Executive had submitted an empty Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, to the Senate, the MTEF is a product of “intensive consultations with top economists, the organised private sector, civil society as well as the state governors. Our intension now is to bring all this work together as part of a comprehensive medium term plan,” he said.

Recall that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had in October assured Nigerians that the ministry was speeding up the budgeting process to avoid the delays experienced with the 2016 budget. 

She assured that preparation of the budget was at an advanced stage. She said the target was to have the 2017 budget approved within 2016 so that implementation starts from the first month of next year. 

Presentation of the MTEF before the National Assembly is part of the prerequisite of the budget presentation to the Law Makers. 

Speaking on the current economic situation of the country and the allegations that the Buhari’s administration has no economic programme, Udoma said, that was not true, as “The administration laid out a clear economic vision and direction, over the short term, in the President’s 2016 budget speech, as well as in the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget.”

He lamented that most part of 2016, Nigeria was grappling with a triple shock of prices, production and power. 

“Quite unlike the situation in 2008, the economy has not been so easily able to shrug-off the triple shock.” 

He said the federal government was constantly looking at ways to develop and build social safety nets to mitigate the effects of currency weakness and re-pricing of petroleum products.

On the progress achieved so far on the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, the minister said reforms in agriculture would help the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and wheat by 2019.

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