2018 Budget: We’ll Ensure Value-for-money, Prioritise Made-In-Nigeria-Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday assured that the 2018 budget when finally passed into law will ensure the government gets value-for-money appropriated and spent, just as focus would be given to spending on locally made goods.
Speaking at the National Assembly Public Hearing on the 2018 Budget, he recalled that “the Made-in-Nigeria initiative, with particular regard to government procurements, is already the thrust of a significant law passed by the 8th National Assembly.”
The initiative, he stressed, has the added advantage of helping to revamp the nation’s industrial base, just as experts believe such would help enhance skill acquisition and conserve the nation’s foreign exchange.
Alluding to these, the Senate President said it “is one sure way of creating opportunities for local entrepreneurs, encouraging private sector partnerships and creating jobs, especially for the youth.”
Calling for constructive inputs and contributions, he expressed firm belief that the Public Hearing, “will deliver the envisioned socio-economic benefits to Nigerians in an all-inclusive manner. That is why we strongly encourage stakeholders’ participation in the process, especially as it relates to the provision of public services and equitable distribution of social benefits.”
The Senate President expressed concern about government-owned enterprises whose operating surpluses have always been significantly lower than projections.
“Invariably, over the years, the performance of independent revenues has fallen short by at least 50%. While we work towards setting new performance standards for government corporations as well as developing stronger oversight frameworks to improve performance in independent revenues, we do expect more realistic projections of Corporations operating surpluses.”
He also observed “that non-oil revenue performances have been impacted by policy inconsistencies and leakages. Thus, in addition to our call for improved systems and processes to plug revenue leakages, we had required that the 2018 Budget proposal be accompanied by a 2018 Finance Bill (which has so far not been received by the National Assembly). Let me therefore use this opportunity to, once again, emphasise the need for the Finance Bill.
“We want government to show clarity and consistency in its policies and to see how these will square up to its financial projections for 2018,” Saraki stressed, acknowledging the nation’s huge infrastructural deficit.
He equally expressed the need to expand planned expenditure, adding that “while it is important to achieve equity and balance in the spread of development projects around the country, we must also prioritise human capital development. It is in this vein that the National Assembly will prioritise expenditure on critical health and education facilities as well as soft infrastructure.”