Except a collaboration between the government and the the nation’s lawmakers evolve practical processes that will end the recurring delays and improve the appropriation of funds in the yearly budget, growth-oriented governance might remain a pipe dream in the country.
But as a way forward, the two institutions must agree to enact a law that would prescribe the maximum period for the passage of the annual budgetary Appropriation Bill as practised in many countries, like the United Kingdom and United States of America.
The President and Chairman of Council, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Alhaji Shehu Ladan, made the observations, while canvassing what he described as veritable budgetary system.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos on Friday, Ladan said the prescribed model budgeting would properly address the perennial challenges in the budgetary process, particularly the delays in budget formulation and appropriation.
He said it is important now than ever to increase stakeholders’ participation in the preparation and implementation of budget to foster greater understanding of the budgetary system, as well as cooperation in the implementation of the approved budget.
“Government should re-energise the Budget Implementation Monitoring Team at all tiers, composed of experts from both the public and private sector to ensure effective and speedy implementation of priority projects contained in the 2018 budget.
“Professionals such as Accountants will help the government, especially in the area of value for money audit towards efficient budget implementation. Since the unprecedented delay in passing the budget this year would result in uncertainties and heavy cost overrun during implementation, there is the need for timely release of funds to finance the approved capital projects by minimizing bureaucracy in the funds’disbursementprocess,’’ he said.
The accountant noted that the benchmarks used in the formulation of the 2018 budget should be constantly analysed and where necessary, revised, through the implementation period.
Ladan said that looking at the total expenditure vis-a-vis the expected revenue of the Federal Government, it is very obvious that the country needs to mobilise resources from borrowing, while government would possibly sell some assets to finance the huge budgetary deficit, which represents nearly a quarter of the expected total expenditure.
Urging government to harness other sources of revenue to finance the budget deficit and future budgets, he said: “These should include the utilisation of the recovered stolen monies, unclaimed financial assets and others. The unclaimed financial assets include: shares, bank deposits, insurance, dividends and other assets that have been untouched for several years (over 10 years) and those assets whose ownership cannot be established; worth trillions of naira.
“Government could channel a large proportion of the proceeds from these unclaimed financial assets in financing the national budget. In terms of revenue generation, ANAN appreciates that there is an expected increase in the contribution of non-oil revenue to 46.8 per cent, which is in line with the desired need to reduce the country’s over-dependence on the oil revenue.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should strengthen the drive to lower the demand for Forex by solidifying the currency swap agreement entered into with China,’’ Ladan said.
He advised that government to pursue policies that are pro-poor and foster the growth of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
Ladan said ANAN, as one of the largest professional accountancy organisations in Africa, beside being chartered, is a member of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC); Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA); Association of Accountancy Bodies of West Africa (ABWA); and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) in the pursuit of excellence.
The vision of the accounting body is to become a premium brand of choice in professional accounting practice in Nigeria and to impact on accounting education and practice in a profound and comprehensive manner.
The mission of ANAN is to advance the science of accountancy in Nigeria, pioneering a multi-disciplinary emphasis in the production of well rounded, well blended, and well-honed professionals, profound in knowledge, skilful in practice and ethical in conduct.
Source: G Business