Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Adeosun: 2018 Budget, we will change our priorities

 

The federal government has said it will have to realign its priorities in the 2018 budget, so as to reduce the negative impact the delay in the implementation of budget could have on the economy.

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who stated this while responding to questions from journalists, said the delay could negatively affect the economy if certain actions were not taken.

The executive and legislative arms have in recent times disagreed over the passage of annual budgets, leading to delay in their implementation.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had in 2017 expressed disappointment over the inability of the National Assembly to pass that year’s budget in time despite the fact that it was sent by the Executive to the lawmakers in December of 2016.

The 2017 budget was not passed and assented to until June of last year.

Again the 2018 appropriation bill was laid before the two chambers in November 2017. The bill was just passed legislative huddle in May this year.

Speaking on the delay in the passage of this year’s budget, Adeosun said the Federal Government would have to realign its priorities since five months had gone already.

She stated, “We remain optimistic about the budget. We have to realign our priorities since five months are gone already. What has helped us is that the 2017 budget was passed late last year and what we have done was to carry on with those projects.

“As you know, many of these projects are multi-year projects; so, hopefully, there wouldn’t be too much disruption. Of course, there will be some and it will be insincere of me to say that the delay in the budget passage has no impact.

“It does because the cost of money in the markets changes and so, there will be some impact. But we are going to try and mitigate that impact as much as possible and focus on completing the projects.”

She said federal government would make sure that many multi-year projects such as rail and power projects would continue to receive adequate funding from the government.

“We didn’t close down our system. Normally, the system closes down on the 31st of December and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies can’t spend anymore.

“But we left the system open to enable the MDAs to continue with the execution of their projects. Yes, there will be some impact, but it would have been better had we got the 2018 budget running in January.”

She expressed optimism that the Federal Government would close the 2017 budget with capital expenditure in excess of N1.5tn, which is higher than the previous year’s figure of N1.3tn.

“The provisional figure as of last week was N1.49tn and there are some postings still to come in. So, I am quite confident that we will close the 2017 budget in excess of N1.5tn for capital expenditure,” the minister added.

 

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