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General News of Tuesday, 1 November 2022


2023 Budget: BudgIT cautions National Assembly against budget padding

National Assembly National Assembly

BudgiT Foundation Nigeria says it is pertinent for the National Assembly to guard against the padding of the 2023 budget.

Gabriel Okeowo, the foundation’s country director, stated this on Tuesday. He said increasing the size of the 2023 budget proposal above the N20.5 trillion presented by President Muhammadu Buhari would weigh on the economy.

According to him, the economy is already battling inflation, and the high-interest rate, among other economic challenges.

“The National Assembly should make sure that they streamline the 2023 budget proposal to make it as implementable as possible. From what we have seen over the years, no matter the size of the budget proposal presented to the national assembly, when it is coming out, there would be insertions that would blow it up,” he explained.

Okeowo further stated, “For instance, the president, while assenting to the 2022 budget, said the National Assembly inserted several new projects. So, we have to start now to let the lawmakers know we are following up on the ongoing budget defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”

He added that the legislature should be able to stand its ground to ensure that it cuts down on frivolous items presented by MDAs and that if it would be difficult to reduce borrowing to fund the budget, the federal parliament should then be stringent on items that would form it.

“On the side of the executive, it also needs to sit up because democracy is a system that checks mate itself. If the National Assembly ends up not doing what it is supposed to do, the executive should be able to stand its grounds to return the budget for amendment.

“We should not, for the sake of wanting to sign the budget into law by December, to keep to (the) January-December calendar, mess up the credibility of the budget itself.”