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2018 Budget: Experts canvas for harmonious relationship between executive and legislature

Published by The Nation on Fri, 22 Jun 2018

Experts have called on the executive arm of government to work closely and harmoniously with the legislators in future budget preparations.By working harmoniously, it is believed that there will be less friction and delay in the passage of the budget.Speaking exclusively to The Nation on the recently passed and signed 2018 budget and the concerns raised by President Muhammadu Buhari over the tinkering of the budget by the National Assembly, two economists, Professor Uche Uwaleke of Nasarawa State University and Odilim Enwegbara an economic analyst noted that cooperation between both arms of government remains the safest way to an acrimony free budget process.According to Odilim Enwegbara a development economist and financial expert who serves as Chairman/CEO at Pan Africa Development Corporate Company (PADCC) the executive will be better off involving strategic committees the National Assembly at earlier and every other stages of designing the budget so that once it comes to the lawmakers it becomes easy to sell, having participated in making important inputs at all the stages of its designing.Odilim Enwegbara said he completely sympathizes with the president given his current frustration that our federal lawmakers have introduced projects that have not been fully given cost/benefit analysis, including procurement and implementation planning, but then, I also believe that given the presidents politics that lacks broad national interest that presents all Nigerians as his equal constituents, it is understandable why our federal lawmakers have take away from the president the allocation of projects in a way that it would be just and fair to all Nigerians.On his part, Prof Uche Uwaleke, Head of Department, Banking and Finance of Nasarawa state university and the first Professor of Capital Market told The Nation that there is no doubt that bringing them (legislators) in at an early stage will help solve this problem. Last year, the National Assembly increased the budget, the year before last same thing happened leading to allegations of padding.According to Prof. Uwaleke, the important thing is that both arms have to work together. Right now the fate of the 2018 budget hangs in the balance it is starting late, elections are around the corner, by February we have elections, this is June it means it is going to extend up June 2019 and the first term will end by May 29, we have lost a lot of ground already but lets see how much can be gained.Read Also:2018 Budget: NIM boss expresses concern over alterationsProf. Uwaleke said he was happy that the President inspite of the concerns that he raised agreed to accent to the appropriation bill and he also promised to work with the National Assembly to ensure that the budget cycle goes back to the January-December cycle.He lamented that the implementation of the budget has been negatively affected by the delays over the years. Particularly for this one, its more like an ill wind that wont blow the economy any good.Uwaleke noted that every sector has been feeling the pinch, the stock market has been bleeding since January partly on the account of the budget delay because when you delay passing the budget, investors dont have a clear direction of where the government is headed so many of them sit on the fence until a clear direction is provided by the budget document.The budget document he said is a tool of government for delivering on priorities, so that direction needs to be clear before investors can take a position, thats part of the reason why the market experienced downward trend compared to what we had in January.Prof. Uwaleke said he did see any justification for the cuts made by the National Assembly to critical capital elements of the 2018 budget noting that we are yet to hear from them, I dont think it is proper for the National Assembly to tinker with capital project of strategic national importance.The buck he said stops at the table of the president, the executive formulates these policies so if the policies are in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the federal government, the National Assembly is supposed to key into it and help the president to realize his objectives, so I am not in support of the cuts that they made.He added that whatever the case is whether or not they are carried along there is no justification for cutting capital projects. What I expected them to have done is, there is projected increase in revenue, you go ahead and increase your own constituency projects because the National Assembly is entitled to being used as a vehicle for delivering dividends of democracy not just the executive arm, because when we elected them even though their functions are well spelt out, but the reality is that the people dont assess them based on these functions. When you go there (National Assemble) and spend eight years and you have not done anything for your people they wont happy about it.On his part, Odilim Enwegbara argued that Nigerians should not forget that this being an election season, lawmakers being the true grassroots representatives of the Nigerian people are bound to showcase federal projects they have brought to their constituents, the same people who may or not reelect them come February 2019.He cautioned the executive arm of government to, let this be a lesson to the executive that itll be better off involving strategic committees of the National Assembly earlier and at every other stage of designing the budget so that once it comes to the lawmakers it becomes easy to sell, having participated in making important inputs at all the stages of its designing.The post 2018 Budget: Experts canvas for harmonious relationship between executive and legislature appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.
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