The Federal Government has said it will in 2018 commence a predictable budget year that will enable the executive and the legislature to check the delays that usually follow the budget process.
The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Times Breakfast meeting.
Nigeria has been experiencing delays in her budget process in recent times owing to power tussle between the executive and the legislative arms of government.
For instance, the 2011 budget was passed on March 25, 2011, while that of 2012 was passed on March 14 of that same year.
For the 2013 budget, it was passed by the lawmakers on December 20, 2012 and signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2013, while the 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets were also signed in May of the respective years.
The 2017 budget is suffering the same fate as it has not been assented to since it was passed last month.
But Akabueze said the government was working on addressing the issue, adding that a legislation, which he called an “organic budget law,” was being considered by the National Assembly to address the impediments to quick budget passage.
He said the legislation would specify the schedule and procedures by which the budget should be prepared, approved, executed, accounted for, and final accounts submitted for approval.
Akabueze stated, “Basically, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that our financial year runs from the 1st of January till the 31st of December. The constitution also empowers the National Assembly to prescribe a different fiscal year; and so basically, it is the National Assembly that has the power to adjust the dates.
“Nevertheless, between ourselves and the National Assembly, we have agreed that every serious country should have a predictable financial year to enable it know this is when the financial year begins and ends so that it ensures proper planning.”
He added, “We are working collaboratively with the National Assembly with regard to that. However, Nigeria has never had what is called an organic budget law, which will incorporate a calendar that everyone is committed to.”