By Ikenna Uwadileke
The Speaker, House of Representatives, on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to focus on proper implementation of the 2017 budget, particularly the capital projects.
Dogara gave the advice while delivering a vote of thanks after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill of N7. 3 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly.
He said that low implementation of budgets in the past had led to high rate of project abandonment across the country.
According to the Speaker, it is certainly frustrating that we go through the annual budget cycle without unlocking the full potential of our citizens.
“This is because implementation and execution of the agreed budget is always a major challenge year in year out.
“Sometimes, implementation rate is as low as 30 per cent; most times, it is never higher than 50 per cent at the best of times.
“This has led to unacceptably high rate of abandonment of projects and distortions in Nigeria’s economic planning,’’ Dogara said.
The Speaker said that Appropriation Act must be allowed to run for an uninterrupted 12 months, for the Executive to have enough time to execute it.
“This means that both Mr President and the National Assembly must find a way to continue the execution of the 2016 Budget, especially the capital component till May 6, 2017.
“It is crystal clear that the capital component of 2016 budget cannot realistically be implemented for only six months.
‘’This is so considering the time required for procurement processes and raising of the revenue; including loans by government. ‘’Except something is done, this will result in yet another failed budget.
“We must therefore put on our thinking caps and ensure that the change promised Nigerians is reflected in our budget process.
“We cannot really make appreciable progress as a nation without significant implementation of the capital component of the Budget,’’ Dogara said.
“The real challenge before us is to make our annual budgets work for all our citizens, especially the poor and the vulnerable.’’