OrderPaperToday – Outgoing Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma has provided hope that the country would return to a January- December fiscal year during the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Udoma who made the disclosure at an end of tenure news conference on Tuesday in Abuja stated that a January-December budget cycle is not mandatory but desirable because it makes economic planning and tracking of budget performance easier.

He regretted that over the last four years, it had been impossible to have a regular budget calendar due to the frosty relationship between the Executive and the leadership of the National assembly.

According to Udoma, “To return to the January to December fiscal year for a budget when the operation of the current budget only commenced in June or July is a very challenging assignment. In order to achieve a return to a 1st of January commencement date the budget must ideally be delivered to the National Assembly by September. But when you are operating a budget which commenced only in June, or July, by September you would have had no idea how the existing budget is likely to perform. Indeed, given the procurement process, for a budget which starts running in June or July, there might have been little or no capital releases by September.

“In short, the only way to return to a January to December fiscal year, under those circumstances, is for there to be agreement between the Executive and the National Assembly to produce a budget on the basis of significant assumptions. This will require a very close working relationship of trust and synergy between the two arms of government.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve this in the last four years. I am hopeful that in Mr. President’s second term we might have a situation where the Executive and the leadership of the National Assembly are much more aligned. This will help not only to be able to achieve a return to the January to December fiscal year, but to have a much smoother budget process.”

Earlier, the Minister remarked that Nigeria is unlikely to achieve the seven per cent target of the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) by 2020.

“A GDP growth rate of 2.01 per cent is weak because we like Nigeria to be growing at 5 per cent, but the key thing is the direction of movement. I know Nigerians will like us to get to 7 per cent but it takes hard work, sustainability and focus to get there,” he said.

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Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank. Also, his writing on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.

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