There was a raucous reaction among Nigerians when the National Assembly (NASS) passed the 2017 national budget in May. One of the main issues that stirred such reactions from Nigerians was how the lawmakers at NASS meddled with the budget figures, especially the added allocation of ₦10 billion to its own initial budget figure proposed by the president.
Some of the facts you should know about Nigeria’s 2017 national budget and recent budget reforms made by President Buhari’s administration, according to findings, include:
Nigeria’s 2017 budget was collated using a web-based application. Through the application, all ministries, departments and agencies of the government uploaded their proposed budget. This made the budget preparation more efficient and transparent. It is the first time this kind of innovation is applied to national budgeting.
Senate approval in 5 months
On May 11, the National Assembly approved the 2017 national budget five months after President Buhari presented the proposed national budget to a joint session of the National Assembly in December, 2016.
Total expected revenue and projected deficit
The 2017 national budget has an expected revenue of ₦5.08 trillion and a projected deficit of ₦2.36 trillion. Many experts warn that this is bad budgeting practice.
Presidency delayed signing
Owing to disagreements on deductions made from proposed allocations to some critical infrastructure projects by the National Assembly, the presidency delayed the signing of the budget. The critical infrastructure projects included: the standard gauge railway, Mambilla power project, second Niger bridge and Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The lawmakers at the National Assembly had reallocated those deductions to new projects created by themselves. Following dialogues, the lawmakers have agreed to restore the deductions on the funds proposed for these critical infrastructure projects.
Capital expenditure focused on roads, power and housing
A sum of ₦2 trillion was approved for capital expenditure, of which more than ₦500 billion is allocated to roads, power and housing projects.
Special projects in each geopolitical zone
A whooping ₦46 billion will go into special economic zone projects in each geopolitical zone of the country.
Jaunary-December budget calendar
Starting from the 2018 national budget, the presidency wants Nigeria to run a January-December budget calendar. Hence, the presidency promises to submit the proposed 2018 national budget to the National Assembly October 2017, while NASS will pass the budget before the end of 2017.