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Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning on Tuesday said that achieving a January to December budget cycle require a very close working relationship of trust and synergy between the executive and the national assembly arms of governments which unfortunately was not achieved in the last four years.
He said “The only way to return to a January to December fiscal year, is for there to be agreement between the executive and the national assembly to produce a budget on the basis of significant assumptions. Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve this in the last four years”.
During his end of tenure press briefing in Abuja, Udoma said that there is no legal requirement for the budget year to run from January to December adding that a January to December fiscal year is however more predictable and would help the private sector and other economic players in planning.
“It is much easier to track budget performance if both the recurrent and the capital budgets run from the same dates. It is therefore desirable to return to the January to December fiscal year.
It is therefore desirable to return to the January to December fiscal year”, he added.
The minister also stressed that returning to the January to December fiscal year for a budget when the operation of the current budget only commenced in June or July is a very challenging assignment adding that in order to achieve a return to a 1st of January commencement date the budget must ideally be delivered to the National Assembly by September.
“But when you are operating a budget which commenced only in June, or July, by September you would have had no idea how the existing budget is likely to perform. Indeed, given the procurement process, for a budget which starts running in June or July, there might have been little or no capital releases by September, this is very challenging”.
“I am hopeful that in the President’s second term we might have a situation where the Executive and the leadership of the National Assembly are much more aligned. This will help not only to be able to achieve a return to the January to December fiscal year, but to have a much smoother budget process”, he said.
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja