Fast track implementation of 2018 budget, expert tells FG

Fast track implementation of 2018 budget, expert tells FG
October 08 22:57 2018

…By Benjamin Orisemeke

The head of banking and finance department at the Nasarawa State University, Professor Uche Uwalake has urged the federal government to fasttrack the implementation of the 2018 capital budget.

According to Uwalake, considering the delay the budget it suffered before it was passed into law, further delay in implementation would not augur well for Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

The first professor of the Nigerian Capital market stated that for a country like Nigeria yearning for enabling infrastructure and human capital development, the importance of budget implementation cannot be over emphasized.

Over the years, many analysts have described the level of capital budgets implementation in the country as dismal, and nothing to write home about.

He said: The delay in getting out the budget document especially since the return to democratic rule in 1999 hampers the execution of infrastructure projects which are sensitive to weather conditions as contractors suspend work whenever the rains become heavy.
“Also, when money is not released on time or government officials take a large chunk of the contract fee as kickbacks, the contractor is hamstrung in delivering standard jobs.

“All these manifest in shoddily executed projects, abandoned projects which litter across the country, costly projects as a result of frequent variations in contract price.”

To break this jinx, Uwaleke, proffered that a comprehensive budget reform is required entailing the entire process of formulation, legislative approval and Presidential assent, execution and control.

According to him, it should be codified in a budget law that clearly spells out the time lines for various budget activities including sanctions for any breach.

“The Procurement Act can also be amended to shorten the process as well as plug loopholes for abuses. The Finance Ministry should ensure that funds are released on time and together with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning put in place appropriate mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation.

“The National Assembly should cooperate with the Executive in respect of any government borrowing programmes for capital projects provided for in the 2018 budget,” he explained.