The federal government Wednesday said that talks to reach a truce between it and the National Assembly on grey areas in the 2016 budget were still ongoing, adding that it could not give any definite date as to when the budget would be signed into law.
The implication of the government’s statement is that the hopes of many Nigerians who were expecting that the 2016 budget would be signed into law anytime soon has been dashed.
This was one of the outcomes of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja wednesday and presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari,
Despite the absence of clarity on the fate of this year’s budget, the government set out the timetable for the submission of the 2017 budget, explaining that this was done to ensure early delivery of next year’s expenditure estimates.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma, who was accompanied by his colleagues in the Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Power, Housing and Works, Babatunde Fashola; and Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said that ahead of the eventual signing of the 2016 budget, the federal government had set up a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure that the budget is implemented.
Udoma also dismissed speculations that the budget was returned to the National Assembly to be reworked.
He said: “On the expectation that we will soon have a budget, the monitoring and evaluation mechanism to make sure that the budget delivers what it promises. That mechanism was looked at by the Federal Executive Council and approved.
“To make sure that 2017 budget is done on time, a timetable was approved for the 2017 budget.
“In addition, council noted the report of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), which in partnership with National Planning Commission organised an economic summit last year and made various recommendations; these recommendations were presented and noted.”