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Why budget is delayed — FRA

by Business News Report

By Omoh Gabriel

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission has disclosed that the delays in the submission and approval of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework [MTEF] by the Ministry of Finance have led to late budget implementation and ill-execution of development plans.
It gave the total revenues remitted to the treasury by the MDAs in 2011as N11.017 billion as against N2.583 billion remitted in 2010. The report however, said the processes monitored by the Commission were characterised by delays in time and activities; wide variances in revenue returns; delays in submission/publication of reports; low response to communication and; low capital expenditure utilization.

These facts are contained in a report presented by the Commissioner, Monitoring and Evaluation, Alhaji Shuaibu Abdullahi Kore, at a Management retreat of the Commission held at Lafia, Nasarawa State. The retreat was chaired by Chairman of the Commission, Alh. (Dr) Aliyu Jibril Yelwa

The Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 provides that the Federal Government, after Consultation with states, shall not later than four months before the commencement of the next financial year; cause to be prepared a Medium Term Framework for the next three years. The Fiscal Responsibility Commission is empowered to ensure that the Framework is produced. While admitting that the Minister of Finance has been producing the document since 2009, its late production had always resulted in late passage of annual budgets. The report also frowned at non-compliance with the preparation of Disbursement Schedule by the Ministry of Finance, a situation it attributed to delays in the passage of the appropriation Acts and poor attitude of officers charged with the responsibilities.

The report further said that while the 2011 budget was largely in line with the 2011-2013 MTEF, the MTEF 2012 – 2015 covered four years contrary to the provision of FRA, 2007 which stipulates that MTEF should be prepared for the next three years.

It further added that the MTEF 2012 -2015 as presented was deficient in content and details suggesting non-compliance with FRA, 2007. The report said despite concerted efforts by the Commission, it is yet to obtain any record of transactions for the sale of federal government houses from the Presidential Implementation Committee.
The Commission is however meeting with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) over the privatisation proceeds of a number of government companies. On revenue monitoring, the report said revenue monitoring peaked during the year as more MDAS contacted by the Commission made increased revenue returns to government coffers.

The report spoke of the Commission’s preparedness to generate more civil society interest in FRA compliance and stressed the need to utilize the FRA as a tool to institutionalise better public expenditure management nationwide.
While stating that compliance by MDAs has improved in recent time, it stressed the need for relevant MDAs to be involved in target setting and should reflect level of activities. Compliance with time lined activities, according to the report, needed to be improved as delays invariably affects the entire budget planning and implementation process.
It finally stated that while performance has not been spectacular given that the Commission is barely 3 years old, there have been improvements in the budget process.

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