Revenue agency seeks adjustment in Nigeria’s budget cycle

The current budget cycle does not support maximum utilization of the dry season period.

The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, said on Tuesday that there is need for the Federal Government to adjust the national budget cycle to give room for seasonal variations and provide sufficient time for projects implementation in compliance with the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

The Chairman of the Commission, Elias Mbam, expressed the view on Tuesday in a memorandum he submitted to the Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Finance on the Review of the National Planning and Budgeting in Abuja.

According to Mr. Mbam, currently, the budget cycle does not support maximum utilization of the dry season period, which is considered the best time for construction work, attributing this to the high incidence of low budget performance.

The revenue agency chairman noted that such situations usually compel ministries, department and agencies, MDAs, to return to treasury on December 31 every year huge unspent funds that could have been used in the execution of capital projects in the country.

To correct the anomaly, Mr. Mbam urged government to consider shifting the Fiscal Year from January 1 every year to June 1, to enable any incoming Federal or State Government Administrations to take charge of its First Year Budget on assumption of office on May 29 of that year, thereby avoiding budget distortion in the first year of a new administration as obtains presently.

Similarly, he faulted the Envelope System, whereby discretionary expenditure ceilings/limits are fixed for MDAs without prioritization and taking into consideration the financial requirements for peculiar and specific activities, projects and programmes, resulting in contracting the bottom-up system of budgeting that promotes stakeholder awareness, consensus building and public ownership of the entire budgeting process and plans in line with global best practices.

He recommended the establishment of a viable framework to enhance executive-legislative collaboration and partnership in the budgeting process to reduce areas of friction in the early stages of budget preparation and appropriation by the Executive and the Legislature respectively.

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