President Goodluck Jonathan has signed the 2012 budget of Nigeria into law, promising that the Federal Government would pursue the implementation of the budget diligently.
The President signed a harmonised budget of N4.69 trillion at the State House, Abuja last Friday. Flanked by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and the Representative of the Senate President, Enyinnaya Abaribe and other top government officials, Jonathan commended the National Assembly for cooperating with his administration to deliver good governance to Nigerians.
According to him, his administration through the implementation of the 2012 budget would focus on employment generation and completion of on-going projects aimed at improving the living standard of Nigerians.
He also promised that the 2013 budget would be presented to the National Assembly in September to ensure early passage, assent and implementation.
According to reports, after the passage of the 2012 budget, the National Assembly and officials of the Jonathan administration met to harmonise discrepancies between the budget presented to the National Assembly and the one passed.
The President warned that henceforth, government functionaries, who lobby the National Assembly for upward review of their budgets without authorisation would be duly penalised.
There are many lessons to be learnt from what it took to sign the new law. First, it is apparent that the executive and legislative arms of government have different views about the nation’s state of prosperity going by the upward review of the oil price benchmark from $70/litre to $72/litre by the National Assembly.
Second, it is common knowledge that late budgeting directly affects government’s spending and in the long run the overall performance of the budget.
Finally, it could be implied that several corrupt practices transpired during the process of budgeting for the President to warn that, “government functionaries who, lobby the National Assembly for upward review of their budgets without authorisation would be duly penalized.”
We believe that national issues as serious as planning her income and expenditure pattern should be handled with all seriousness they deserve.
We hope that the Jonathan government will remain faithful to the letters of the budget and go ahead to fully implement it. The era of implementing the national budget in breach should no longer be tolerated.