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Home » NEWS ANALYSIS » Budget 2017: Implementation is key

Budget 2017: Implementation is key


By Louis Okoroma

It is a welcome relief to all Nigerians, that at long last, the 2017 budget has been

signed and sealed. What remains to be done is for all hands to be on deck for a

resounding delivery. The Executive and the national legislature deserve

accolade for a job well done, bearing in mind how problematic getting budgets

on track has been in recent times.

The 2017 budget is very important to the administration of President

Muhammadu Buhari and his hardworking deputy, Acting President Professor

Yemi Osinbajo who is doing so much to improve the business and economic

climate in the country.

The importance of the 2017 budget, lies in the fact that if the government can

achieve between 60- 70 per cent implementation, the nation’s economy would

surely experience a great lease of life that would set it strongly on the road to

exiting the stifling recession that currently ravages our economy. Second,

successfully implementation of the budget especially as it concerns delivery of

the laudable and ambitious infrastructural development projects, would open

up the economy and energies economic activities all through the nooks and

crannies of the country.

One aspect of the budget that highly recommends it for faithful

implementation, is that it has so much for all parts of the country and faithful

implementation would mean that the country would be on the highway to

greater economic integration and complementarity.

The budget is quite ambitious. It is a total of N7.44 trillion and was signed into

law by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. The huge estimate is not a surprise

because so much is expected from the budget at the end of the financial year

and beyond. It is expected that as implementation of the budget kicks off, many

Nigerians would be put to work in various sectors, thus reducing the ravaging

unemployment while critical infrastructure would hopefully be spread to all

parts of the country. It is heartening that the funds for executing the budget is

available unlike in previous budgets when paucity of funds has adversely

compromised the implementation. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has

allayed fears in this regard by promising that N350 billion would be immediately

released for the execution of capital projects across the country.

And to minimize and avoid waste, her counterpart in Budget and National

Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, hinted that funding of projects would

now be on project- based release system whereby, funds would be released for

a particular project after the government has ascertained that it can be

completed within a given time frame. The beauty of this is that wastages would

be curbed and the rate at which projects are abandoned in the country,

drastically reduced.

Minister Udo Udoma, also revealed that the Federal Government would

‘’strengthen its monitoring and evaluation framework to improve physical

inspection and impact assessment of projects and programmes implemented by

the MDA’s’’. Apparently, these MDA’s are responsible for much of the

abandoned and poorly conceived projects that dot the landscape and make the

country ugly. According to Udo Udoma, ‘’… we have to do things differently. We

need to have more targeted releases. We have to look at the projects that are

important and can be easily completed. The Ministers are working together to

ensure that over time, we concentrate our resources on completing important

projects, so that we can have maximum impact’’. This means that we are in an

era of serious governance and service delivery when government embarks on

projects only when it is assured of its value and feasibility.

The 2017 budget is highly loaded on the provision of infrastructure. This is in

keeping with President Muhammadu Buhari’s keen interest in transforming the

nation’s economy from recession to a dynamic and active economy where

people, goods and services have means and ease of movement.

A whooping sum of N 10 billion has been set aside for the construction of over

65 roads and bridges to enhance transportation in the country. These would

include roads, rail, waterways and airports.

As part of its targeted project implementation and release of funds, some of the

strategic roads for which the money have been set aside have been identified.

They are but not restricted to the Lagos/ Ibadan road, Kano/ Maiduguri road

and the Enugu/ Port Harcourt road. It also includes the Second Niger Bridge for

which the sum of N7 billion was set aside.

Other critical road projects that will change the transportation experience of

Nigerians when completed, include Abuja/ Abaji/ Lokoja road, Obajana

junction- Benin road, Onitsha/ Enugu dual carriageway which got an impressive

allocation of N7.5 billion and N7 billion for the Bodo/ Boni road. There is also

Ilorin/ Jebba, Odukpani- Itu, Kano/ Katsina and Gombe/Numan/Yola etc.

The above shows that the 2017 budget was well thought out more so when the

funding for projects would not be a problem. Remarkably, government has

mobilised the Federal Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Customs

to strive hard on revenue collection to aid the availability of funds while

hopefully, modest oil revenue is guaranteed following steady improvement in

oil production in the Niger Delta.

Though the 2017 budget is ambitious and revolutionary in the area of

transportation infrastructure, other sectors of the economy also got a good

deal. Over a hundred billion is set aside to provide water and sanitation across

the country through construction and rehabilitation of dams and irrigation

projects. Similarly, agriculture and rural development got good allocations.

About 6.5 billion naira has been earmarked for water sanitation while the sum

of 4.13 billion and 20 billion naira would be used to guarantee minimum price

payment to farmers to encourage farming and promote and develop value chain

for a number of commodities, respectively.

The 2017 budget could be referred to as ‘’ a budget of inclusion and

reconstruction’’, given that there is something in it for all parts of the country

and it is geared to change the face of the country with new projects. PMB is on

course. It thus behoves on all Nigerians of good will to use their best

endeavours to see that peace reign in the country and that contractors and

workers on site nationwide are given maximum cooperation. Not much can be

accomplished in the area of development if there is no peace.

One hereby call on all agitators, militants and radicals across the country of

whatever hue, to spare a thought for the long- suffering and exploited people of

our country, by identifying with the government’s economic recovery efforts as

contained in Budget 2017, and support its diligent implementation.

Louis Okoroma is a Public Affairs Consultant. He is on

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