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Expert lists demerits of delayed budget passage, decries Thursday’s postponement

Development economist, Dr. ken Igboanugo, has decried what he described as dumping of national interest for party activities by the National Assembly following the cancellation of Thursday’s plenary to allow members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus to prepare for the local government area congresses of the party holding on Saturday.

Besides, checks before the cancellation showed that   even the report by the joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations on the 2018 Appropriation Bill was not laid at the Senate before the chamber adjourned plenary to Tuesday next week.

It would be recalled that President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had on Monday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, in company with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, averred that the report would be laid this week, while the passage of the budget would be done later in the week or by next week.

In his voice on Monday, Saraki said “Hopefully, it should be laid this week. We are hoping it will be laid this week”.

However, Dr. Igboanugo in a telephone interview with Business Hilights on Thursday, decried the consideration of party interest over and above the national interest, stressing that “continuous delays in passing a national budget portends serious danger for the ailing economy”.

“A nation’s national budget is the yearly economic ground norm that guides and determines every deep pocket business direction in the first instance and toiling with such strategic document gives a wrong signal to even existing and prospective inventors’.

“Today, almost every state government is working on their respective 2018 budget, but there is none for the nation from where even the states’ budgets should follow.

He said “Delaying passage of national budget will definitely delay the delivery of any time-bound project or even lead to its cancellation which also means economic loss.

Dr. Igboanugo added that “In every election year, it is always very important for the budget to be passed very early so that business concerns can be able to take decisions on investment times and processes to avoid being caught in the web of electioneering activities which can make or mar certain classes of businesses.

He however noted that by law, the executives ought to have presented the budget earlier than November last year, saying “Under normal circumstances, Nigerian budget document is suppose to leave the executive arm of government and hit the National Assembly latest July of every year so that the lawmakers can be able to do their job without any form of duress in the place.