Capital releases will no longer be automatic-Udo-Udoma

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator. Udoma Udo-Udoma, says capital releases will no longer be automatic as they will depend on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) meeting performance indicators.

Udo-Udoma stated this at 2016 Annual Public Lecture of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the ministry had developed a robust monitoring and evaluation framework for effective monitoring of 2016 budget.

“We believe that with all these measures, we will succeed in turning the economic crisis into an opportunity to restructure and reposition our economy for growth and prosperity.

“In this way, we will deliver the economic change we promised Nigerians,’’ the minister said.

Udo-Udoma said that the 2016 budget was designed to help in the amelioration of some economic challenges in the country.

“It signals the determination of the administration to create a diversified economy that is no longer dependent on crude oil proceeds.

“The budget, which has outlay of N6.06 trillion and capital expenditure of N1.79 trillion (29 per cent of total budget), is aimed at reflating the economy.

“It is also aimed at creating jobs for our teeming youths as well as supporting the vulnerable groups,’’ he said.

The minister, however, said that the administration was committed to strengthening the link between its plans and budgeting processes to ensure better implementation of its projects and programmes.

“We are committed to inclusive development which explains the unprecedented allocations of N500 billion to social investment projects in the 2016 Budget of Change,’’ he said.

Earlier, President of NES, Prof. Ben Aigbokhan said in the 1960s up to mid-1980s, there was deliberate effort to make plans serve as guide to development programmes and policies.

Aigbokhan said that there was visible link between plans and annual budget, noting that it was the era which held much prospects for Nigeria migrating from third to first world group within two decades.

“The period from mid-1980s to early 2000s witnessed the weakening and eventual disconnect between plans and budgets.

“Attempts to return to the link led to the design of the NEEDS and Vision 20:2020 development documents.

“But each of these have suffered weak implementation despite the promises they held,’’ he said.

The don, however, said that the development problem since mid-1980s, therefore, had been one of non-budget and national link, non-implementation of plan and low rate of budget implementation.

“Perhaps, no other single indicators demonstrated this than the disproportionate allocation to recurrent expenditure relative to allocation to capital expenditure.

“If Nigeria is to regain lost ground, we need to return to planning linked to budget preparation and implementation.

“NES saw some inclinations towards this new administration and, therefore, decided to assist in this direction by holding this lecture to generate ideas that would enhance the realisation of the objective,’’ he said.

The topic of the lecture was entitled, “Strengthen Budget – Plan Link for Inclusive Development in Nigeria.’’

The lecture was delivered by Prof. Mike Obadan of University of Benin Foundation for Education and Development.