The Nigerian budget is the annual ritual performed by the executive arm of government. In the last quarter of every year, the executive is expected to present the fiscal policy for the upcoming year to the legislative arm. This document which is commonly referred to as the budget now exists as a mere document in recent times. The Nigerian budget cycle is always plagued with drama, inconsistencies, corruption and scandals, and we are tired of it.
The budget is always submitted to a joint sitting of the legislative chambers like a Christmas event, however, the aftermath of the presentation is always rancorous as the executive and the legislative arm always engage in a drawn-out war while each faction tries to tilt the budget to suit its own specific needs. Using the current executive and legislature as an example, it has been a collapsed system between 2015 and now. The budget presented to the legislative arm in the first year of this administration was riddled with a lot of crisis from the missing budget to the padded items which later earned Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin from Kano a suspension.
At the moment, the 2018 budget submitted over 5 months ago has become another subject of controversy. The legislative arm practically abandoned the budget while it has preoccupied itself with other irrelevant matters. The executive on its part, especially the ministers have deserted their defence duties at the National Assembly, in fact, the President made a directive to all (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) MDAs to defend their budget at the National Assembly but nothing has been done and the budget remains unattended to.
There is every possibility that the budget may not be passed any time soon as we approach the sixth month of the year. The effectiveness of the previous budgets is debatable but the approach given to the 2018 budget is highly political. The executive in recent times has accused/punished several members of the National Assembly for one offence or the other, as a result of this the legislative arm has decided to hold on to the budget. This was re-echoed yesterday when part of the discussion between President Buhari and the National Assembly leadership was that of the Inspector General of Police and Senator Dino Melaye, who is currently on trial for arms running.
As much as none of the two parties will accept this fact, it is evident the two gladiators are driven by personal interests and not the interests of Nigerians.
The leadership of the executive and legislative arm are advised to consider the suffering masses of Nigeria by passing this budget into law while the executive is advised to seek to its effective implementation for the good of the nation.