As the 2017 budget preparations kicks off, all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government have been directed to submit their budgets to a designated web portal domiciled in Budget Office.
This is a departure from the old practice of MDAs submitting their annual budgets through flash drive to the Budget office. This new development is to avoid hitches of 2016 budget creeping in to next year’s budget while the budget office will review it on line and send it back on line after corrections have been effected.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of state in the Budget Ministry, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Thursday in Abuja. The new process of submitting budget by MDAs, the minister added, was designed to limit human interface and ensure better quality 2017 budget.
She also disclosed that the federal government has achieved 41.25% in 2016 budget implementation as of October 2016 with a total disbursement of N2.5 trillion.
Speaking in an interview with financial journalists in Abuja at the 2nd presidential economic communications workshop, the Minister also confirmed that the 2017 budget is ready but the executive is waiting for the approval of Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) currently in the custody of the National Assembly for approval.
According to her, “we planned 2017 budget very carefully by putting in place an IT system that minimizes human interface in the budget process to make 2017 Budget a very high quality budget. We now have a web portal where by ministries prepares their budget and submits on line and the budget office reviews it on line and send back via online where corrections would be made. This will reduce significantly the human interface to ensure we have a high quality budget.”
She said the executive arm was ready with 2017 budget, but waiting for the National Assembly’s approval of MTEF before its submission to the National Assembly.
With regards to the current budget, the minister said the 2016 has been very challenging to the federal government in terms of revenue receipt and budget implementation.
According to her, “it’s been very challenging for us. Apart from the fact that we are in recession, we have some of our people facing humanitarian crisis in the North East. The Niger Delta crisis has pruned down revenue from oil and gas. We have a lot of projects that we planned to do but the revenue yield is not as we projected in the budget and this is largely due to vandalism of major oil infrastructures in Niger Delta region. We have minimal revenue but we have a lot of plans to share and allocate resources”, said Mrs. Ahmed.
On what has been disbursed from the 2016 budget, she said the, federal government has released about N2.5 trillion of N6.06 trillion 2016 budget. Of the releases, she said N753 billion is for capital projects, a significant portion of which was devoted to infrastructure and related projects. N108 billion for overheads, N117 billion as statutory transfers, N142 billion for Consolidated pension, N1.2 trillion for personnel and N135 billion for service wide.
The minister also revealed that, the government is currently developing a National Economic Recovery plan covering 2017- 2020. The plan, she said would guide preparation of annual budgets and guide the Economic Management Team and budgeting process over short term to medium term.