19 June 2017

Nigeria: 2018 Budget - FRC Advises Govt to Stick to ERGP

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, has advised the Federal Government to stick to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, in processing the 2018 Appropriation Bill to boost the nation's economy.

FRC Acting Chairman, Mr Victor Muruako, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, yesterday, in Abuja.

He said the ERGP was a very important and compact document that would help set the right stage for the nation to get back on the path of growth.

"That well-articulated plan is a roadmap to boost our economic growth. It is a very bold statement on which most of the 2018 appropriation requirements or plans will have a foothold and there must be strict adherence to this roadmap. With this plan, the nation is on the right path," he said.

Muruako, however, said although it was not the first time the nation had come up with a very good master plan or roadmap, it must stick to the plan to benefit from it.

He commended the Federal Government for coming up with measures to ensure that the nation returned to the usual January to December budget cycle.

He said the 2018 budget calendar was already out and the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had issued executive orders to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, to ensure that the nation gets back on track.

He said: "There are three executive orders issued by the acting president and order number two clearly specifies that all financial transactions relating to the national budget and appropriation must adhere strictly to time.

"There is a new wave of commitment to stick to financial plan, particularly the ERGP 2017-2020 and this has set the right tone for the nation to return to the usual budget cycle of January to December."

According to him, the order specifies that every MDAs must, before July 31, submit its budget details to the Minister for Budget and National Planning who will then work on it.

He said that there was a firm commitment by the Acting President and the economic team to submit the budget proposal of 2018 to the National Assembly within the first week of October 2017.

Muruako said that this would give the National Assembly the necessary time to work on it and for the President to study and give assent before December 31, adding that with this, the financial life of the nation could begin on January 1.

He, however, said that the 2017 Appropriation Bill that was recently signed into law by the acting President might encounter some challenges in implementation because of its late passage.

"It is coming a bit late, so obviously, there may be some challenges in the full implementation of the budget," he said.

He also advised that henceforth, more stakeholders should be involved in the budgetary process to get it right.

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