Another Year, Another Budget Make Me Cry By Yahaya Mohammed Usman
While a lot of Nigerians celebrate the coming of a new year as if it’s coming will bring with it any new thing, yours sincerely is always worried and down cast especially when a preceding year is winding down, at the third quarter of every year while speeding into the ember months, government at all levels begin to plan for another coming year, prepare all sorts of budget and so on and so forth.
I become downcast because this is a period when series of numerical “lions” are heard, you hear things like budget proposal of a certain state being in the region of billions and the federal, in trillions, you begin to hear argument as to the bench mark price of crude oil, you see voluminous papers changing hands on the floor of the legislatures and so on and so on.
I become downcast because you begin to hear beautiful pronouncements from the leaders of the various tiers of government, but such pronouncement are left where they are made and yet new ones will be made in another end of the year.
I am more worried about 2014 because with 2014 comes 2015, this is the last full calendar year that will usher us into another election.
Looking back now into 2013 I believe that with the exception of a very minute number of state governors and infact the president himself have even forgotten what they proposed in their respective preceding year budgets not to talk of whether it was a success or a failure. Yet it is signed as a law every year, with impeachable consequence upon breach.
The states’ and national assemblies don’t see this as any wrong doing because in most cases they too don’t even read the content of the budget proposals, these are the reasons why some budgets are just passed as they were brought, with no amendment to even a comma not to talk of a figure or even sentence. Lending credence to the allegations that budget defense sessions are avenues for extorting monies from agencies and parastatals of government.
It is in this clime that all sorts of budget are passed.
Even with the so called oversight of the assemblies the budget implementation are abysmally poor, giving raise to decay in infrastructure and the growing number of poverty stricken population.
As far as average Nigerians are concerned the budget has become a yearly ritual that has no meaning whatsoever, to them, so long as they cannot afford the three square meal, their children cannot get a decent education in public schools and cannot get a qualitative healthcare delivery from public hospitals at an affordable rate the budget means nothing, cant that be far from the truth?
I recall for instance, the Chief Servant of Niger state had to, on two occasions shed tears, and I mean real tears! At the sight of some public primary schools in minna, the state capital of Niger State, he rhetorically asked about all the monies being approved for the repair and upgrade of those schools and their infrastructure, no answer was giving then and till now nobody is cooling off anywhere. But to worsen the situation public servants who are saddled with the responsibility of making these sectors work with monies appropriated for them in the budget do not patronize this institutions, how then can they gauge the efficacy of their prescription,? As if to add salt to injury, even civil servants who are suppose to be the back bones of the MDAs too don’t patronize them yet somebody somewhere is been paid for doing nothing, it bleeds my heart and I am sure am not the only one who feels this pain.
Government budget as the name implies should be a measurement and an assumptive tape for measuring and setting standard for government agencies, built upon on the previous year’s experience and structured to suit the future. So many capital projects have been budgeted for in several years and yet some of them find their way back into the budget proposal virtually every year, it now seems as though it is a copy and paste attitude kind of.
As 2014 cometh, Government at all levels most raise up to the occasion of decay in our infrastructure, making realistic budgets and following the budget implementation to a logical a conclusion.
Standards should be set for all government agencies to achieve with deviation stringently punished and excusable reasons entertained.
The state and national assembly should rise above board, to sanction anybody and government institutions that stands in the way of proper budget implementation.
On their oversight, what is on paper as budget should be compared with what is realistically on the ground, so also there should be aggressive mass education to enable the populace study the budget and be able to follow the monies at the implementation stages of the budget. Unless this is done, it shall continue to be budget in budget out every year. Sorry to start the year on a sad note but then…., another budget makes me cry. Happy New Year!
President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan has just delivered another promise that by the middle of 2014 there will steady power supply in the country, we hope so, but if the past is to be a guide for the future then I must say that we are in for another hard times in 2014.
Can anyone remember the fresh air promise, HYPPADEC bill promise? The Boko Haram elimination promise? The dredging of river Niger promise? The Minna Abuja Express Road Promise? The single term promise? And many more promises including this one for 2014.
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