Finally, the 2017 budget is ready for implementation after the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, signed it into law. As a fiscal and policy framework for business decisions, its delay for almost six months has seriously harmed the economy. Now that its execution will soon begin, how it will impact on the country’s economic recovery and growth plan, which President Muhammadu Buhari unfurled in April, should be the focus of all.
The N7.44 trillion budget has N2.058 trillion for capital expenditure, the highest ever provided. This is critical; the release of these funds to tackle infrastructural deficits in roads, power, transportation and housing, among others, will undoubtedly trigger an upward spiral in economic activities, leading to job creation and growth. Other components of the budget are N2.9 trillion recurrent; N1.6 trillion debt servicing, N419 billion statutory transfer, among others.
Already, the year is half gone. Why it took a country with a January-to-December budget cycle this long to roll out its spending plan will not cease to amaze. There is enough blame to go round. The President submitted the Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly on December 14, which he should have done much earlier. Unfortunately, the parliament, lacking any sense of urgency and patriotism, abandoned it till late January when the Senate began debating it, despite its pledge to pass it in February. Unnecessary holidays and political pettiness ensured its passage did not take place until May 9.