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Proper use of national budget, critical to economic dev —Akpabio

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Akpabio

President of the Senate, on Tuesday, declared that “the proper use of the national budget is critical to the economic development of any country, and it is even more so for a nation like ours, where our economy needs urgent stimulation to address myriad of challenges.”

This was even as he warned that the National Assembly would not tolerate lackadaisical attitude from government functionaries in all the ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs in relations to issues surrounding their defences of submissions and the resolve to maintain the January-December budget cycle.

Akpabio, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Jibrin Barau, spoke while declaring open a stakeholders retreat on the 2024 Appropriation Bill organised by the Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West).

He said: “We understand that the budget is about fiscal targets, resource allocation, public expenditure policy, productivity and efficiency.

“We also understand that the process is one of passage, mobilization and execution, as well as, effective monitoring and evaluation.”

The Senate President, however, warned that the consequences of undefended budget “may not be palatable for the official or the agency in the eventual passage of the 2024 Appropriation Bill.”

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He commended the zeal and foresight of the chairman and members of the Appropriations Committee, to open up the 2024 budget process for stakeholders’ engagement and feedback through this one-day retreat.

The Senate President said that the contributions of stakeholders to lawmaking remain a key element in democracy, especially when it concerns a vital issue like the national budget of a nation dealing with the allocation of national resources.

Earlier, the chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Solomon Adeola, said the retreat would afford stakeholders the opportunity to contribute meaningfully toward the realisation of the renewed hope budget 2024.

He said the National Assembly was committed to ensuring that there was value for every fund appropriated in 2024 budget.

Also speaking, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, has said Nigeria needs to explore climate financing to shore up revenue to fund the 2024 budget.

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Edun, while acknowledging that Nigeria’s fiscal space was exhausted in line with the position of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, proposed a strategic shift towards concessional funding including climate financing as a viable solution.

“Nigeria’s fiscal space is exhausted, we have to focus on the concessional funding, the cheaper funding, even free funding and climate financing is the way.

“Solution is that we have to focus on concessional funding, the cheaper funding, even free funding, and climate financing is the way,” he stressed.

He highlighted the urgency of addressing the fiscal constraints and reducing dependence on borrowing particularly foreign borrowing.

The minister pointed out that with an estimated $1 trillion annually to be spent on climate change, emphasised the significance of climate financing in funding the N27.5 trillion budget.

In his lecture on identification of processes to guide the desired achievement in 2024 budget, gave an appraisal of 2023 budget appraisal and 2024 proposal,
a don from University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Professor Ayo Teriba, said the attainment and surpassing of the revenue of 2023 as at September was unprecedented and a great achievement for the current administration.

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This, he said was an indication that the projected N18trillion expected revenue in the 2024 budget was realistic.

Prof. Teriba also advised that tax revenue generation should not be the main focus of government toward revenue generation but efforts should be tailored on leveraging on non tax revenue, asset revenue generation, with specific areas to attract foreign direct investments to increase revenue streams to the nation.

The economist said every MDAs need to develop a workable window for creating opportunities for inflow of domestic and foreign direct investments for sustainable revenue generation.

He also said that there was need for more improvements of the capital component of the budget and improve on its asset, and attract foreign direct investment.

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