The Federal Government has cleared air on ambiguous figures and issues raised by the public against the 2017 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the Director-General, Budget Office of The Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, said some commentaries on the budget show an inadequate understanding of the budget process and related issues and therefore, it is necessary to provide some clarifications on the fundamental observations raised for the benefit of Nigerians.
Akabueze who noted that the Budget encapsulates key ingredients of the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP), added that zero-based budget system was adopted in the preparation but the process does not implies that projects captured in 2016 Budget will not feature in the current proposal, especially if the project was not implemented due to funding challenges.
On cost of the Budget preparation, he said “someone simply aggregated the budgets of the Budget Office, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the provisions made by respective MDAs for budget preparation and administration, and described the total of N5.41 billion as cost of preparing the Budget. This is not correct.”
The allegation, he noted “reflects a lack of the full scope of responsibilities of the Budget Office and its parent Ministry of Budget and National Planning.”
On allegation over differential prices for same items, he said “this is a valid concern, which we ourselves are working to address; the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) is updating its price list which will be structured into the budget preparation application to make it impossible for different agencies to use different prices for same items in the budget.”
On claim that the provision for Annual Budget Expenses and Administration appeared multiple times in the Budget of different MDAs, Akabueze said given that there are over 800 MDAs which must make provisions for expenses related to the Budget exercise, the amounts provided by the agencies is a reasonable cost to ensure that the budget is prepared with minimal errors.
He added that “it is not a secret that for a long time now, the FGN has been able to fully implement its annual budget, especially the capital expenditure component. It should be noted that capital budget implementation depends on resource availability. As such MDAs’ budgetary provision not fully funded in the 2016 Budget will be repeated in the 2017 budget.”
Akabueze who noted that the introduction of the web-based application in the preparation of the 2017 Budget eliminated the glitches experienced with Budget 2016, referred the public to the website of Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) where details of the 2017 Budget proposals are available.