The long time it is taking the National Assembly to finish work on and pass this year’s national budget will have economic implications for the Nigerian economy.
The minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who made this assertion at a news conference yesterday in Abuja, said the delay in passing the 2018 budget would cause some adjustments in implementation which would have some impact on the nation.
Adeosun, who said the impact was due to changes in the market and in the cost (value) of money, however, assured that the federal government would try to mitigate the effects of the delay.
Adeosun said: “Honestly, we may need to realign some of the priorities now because what we thought we would be doing in January is now different from what we are going to do.
“So, we are going to have to look very closely to see where we would realign and re-prioritise, but we will carry on because most of the capital projects are multi-year projects, so we will just continue.
“We are going to try and mitigate that impact as much as possible and focus on completing projects,’’ she said, adding that the fact that the 2017 budget cycle began late in the year had helped a great deal.
“What has helped us is the fact that the budget was passed late last year, and what we did was (that) we just carried on with those projects. We will close this year’s budget with capital expenses in excess of N1.5 trillion, which is higher than last year.
“Many of these projects are multi-year projects, so, hopefully, there will not be too much disruptions.’’
Adeosun noted that the financial systems were not closed on December 31, 2017 in order to allow for projects implementation to continue.
She, however, expressed optimism that the 2018 budget would be passed soon.
it will be recalled that the National Assembly is yet to pass the budget which was forwarded to it since November last year due to several reasons, including chief executives of some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) refusing to come forward to defend the budget estimates contained in their proposals before the lawmakers.
However, both chambers of the National Assembly have indicted their readiness to pass the appropriation bill into law in a short while.