by Ajadi Daniel
Almost five months after the presentation of the 2017 budget by President Buhari to the National Assembly, the budget is yet to be passed by the National Assembly. The budget was precisely presented on the 14th of December 2016. One would have expected that the 2017 budget would be given a speedy budget given the fate that befell the 2016 budget.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki had recently said that the Budget would be passed on the 30th of March 2017. Lately also the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Danjuma Goje also disclosed that the budget would be passed before May, especially given the fact that the validity period of the 2016 budget is the 5th of May, 2017. Hence the 2017 budget is expected to be ready before then.
The Chairman of the Appropriation committee, Goje broke the silence when he said the Nigerian Police took the budget document from his House, this is the kind of hilarity that trivializes the importance of a pending budget, which is characteristic of Nigeria.
It is perhaps a tradition that the budget comes in the second quarter of the year, but as for the 2017 budget, we have heard very little about the progress of the budget, perhaps this is not unconnected to the incidence of padding in the 2016 budget which did not help the image of the National Assembly.
What happens when the 2016 budget expires on the 5th of May this year if the 2017 budget has not been passed? The process of budget passage in Nigeria in itself breeds corruption and gives room for illegality.
It is important to state that the National Assembly is not improving in anyway and has not learnt from the past, we cannot keep having the budget passed in the middle of the year, It is important the legislature perfect ways on how to carry out their responsibility expediently without holding the country to ransom with budget delays, budget passage is not a rocket science.
It is possible to pass the budget in a month; it once happened during President Jonathan’s administration.