Confusion over 2019 budget!

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*Buhari fails to meet requirements of the law
*Summons “special” FEC meeting tomorrow
*Plans to submit it to NASS 2nd week of December
*Insists on N6.9 trillion revenue projection in 2019

With just 25 days to the end of the year 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari has summoned a special Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting tomorrow to solely deliberate on 2019 budget proposal.
This is contrary to an earlier statement by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed during her tenure as the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning that the federal government has concluded plans to present the 2019 budget proposal to the National Assembly earlier in September.

She had explained that the decision to present the budget proposal to the National Assembly in September was in a bid to restore the January to December budget circle after consulting widely with the federal lawmakers.

Despite the fact that the Constitution stipulates that the President shall present the nation’s annual budget proposal to the National Assembly in September, the presentation of the last two budgets could not achieve that deadline.

The President had presented the 2017 fiscal document to the lawmakers in the second week of December 2016 while that of 2018 was presented in the first week of November 2017.
Speaking then the minister had said: “Our aspiration is that we want to meet the requirements of the law to submit it by September but as you know, the National assembly is itself away on recess and they resume by September.”

She had then agreed to the fact that the law encourages the executive to submit the budget by September and the idea is that by December, the budget is passed.
Also speaking on the position of the Constitution on the annual budget, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, (Senate) Senator Ita Enang had said the federal government accepted the deadline as sacrosanct and was committed to meeting it.

He further stated that the government was working assiduously to ensure that the deadline was complied with to take the country back to the annual budget cycle of January to December.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina stated that the Friday’s Special FEC meeting would endorse and approve the 2019 draft budget for onward submission to the National Assembly for its approval.

It would be recalled that on October 18, 2018, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, at the consultative forum on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) 2019 to 2021, said the federal government plans to submit a leaner 2019 budget to the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, experts have warned that the inconsistency in Nigeria’s budget cycle has given room for speculations and poor implementation.
Also according to data obtained from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) 2016 Annual Report and Audited Accounts, from 2011 to 2017, the time of approvals of the budgets is definitely going to run into the year 2019.

The earliest budget in recent times was that of 2013 which was submitted to the National Assembly on Oct. 10, 2012, and assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan on Feb. 26, 2013, indicating a five-month time lag.
All others were presented to the National Assembly in December and assented to in April, May or June.

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