Experts express Optimism of a Better Budget Implementation

Economic, Financial and  Accounting experts have expressed a line positive thoughts and showed why the Nigerians might witness better implementation of the projects contained in the already signed 2018 budget.

The budget, which was passed into law on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari, had a total size of N9.12tn.

The experts, who spoke during separate interviews with our correspondent, said being an election year, there was hope for higher implementation of the budgeted items.

The Chief Africa Economist, Standard Chartered Bank, Razia Khan, said there was no reason to assume that all of the spending plans would necessarily be executed.

A professor of Economics at University of Lagos, Olufemi Saibu, said he hoped that it would be a better and impactful budget than previous ones.

He stated that what had become of previous budgets was lack of full implementation.

He said, “There are some items on the budget that will not be implemented, but were still included nonetheless. At the end of the day, it is not the total amount of the approved budget that will have an impact on the economy.

“Over the years, the performance rate has been around 30 per cent. Applying it to the current budget will amount to about N3tn and not the whole of the N9tn presented and approved. “However, this year, there is likely to be a higher implementation of the budget, and in totality, much money will be released to the economy.”

Saibu stated that the approaching elections and campaigns, and the need to justify tenure would cause the government to implement more items in the budget.

The Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, Prof Akpan Ekpo, attributed the high budget amount to inflation rates and inter-sector gaps.

According to him, more items in the budget will be implemented and this can be attributed to the fact that the President plans to introduce a supplementary budget.

He said, “We should not look at the budget in nominal terms, but in real terms; that is taking into account inflation and the likes. The budget may be higher in absolute terms, but not in relative terms.

“If you are looking to do more projects, the current budget has to be higher than in the past. There is nothing wrong in that, especially since we have inter-sector gaps. The problem is that the House (National Assembly) cut out a lot of important projects, which makes the President want to submit a supplementary budget so that he can fill that gap.”

Ekpo stated that he was worried not in the allocations of the budget, but in the outcome and implementation.

He added that there was a need to investigate why the National Assembly cut the allocations to capital projects and increased its budget from N125bn to N139.5bn proposed by the Executive.

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