“As I said in my New Year message, living in the State House does not in any way alienate me from your daily struggles. I read the newspapers and listen to the TV and radio news. I hear your cries. I share your pains”.
The budget had taken some twists and turns at the National Assembly before being signed on Friday.
A country functions at a lower capacity in the absence of a budget, considering the fact that the budget is the most important economic policy instrument for governments and the state and federal level.
It reflects a government’s social and economic policy priorities more than any other document, translating policies, political commitments, and goals into decisions on where funds should be spent and how funds should be collected.
A well-functioning budget system is vital to the formulation of sustainable fiscal policy and facilitates economic growth.
The budget assented to was N200 million short of the N6.08 trillion Buhari presented to the National Assembly.
Interestingly, the President boasted that about N350bn will be injected into the economy immediately.
“The Budget is intended to signpost a renewal of his government’s commitment to restoring the budget as a serious article of faith with the Nigerian people. This administration is committed to ensuring that henceforth, the annual appropriation bill is presented to the National Assembly in time for the passage of the Act before the beginning of the fiscal year.
“Through the 2016 budget, aptly titled ‘Budget of Change’, the government seeks to fulfill its own side of the social contract. The budget I have signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of N6.06trn. Further details of the approved budget, as well as our Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, will be provided by the Honorable Minister of Budget & National Planning,” Buhari said.
He also said, “the signing of the budget today will trigger concerted efforts to reflate the Nigerian economy, a key element of which is an immediate injection of N350 billion into the economy by way of capital projects”.
The President did make sure to warn Nigerians not to expect any magic from him, most especially with the sluggish economic situation.
The continuous rise in the exchange rate of dollars to naira has directly affected the price of goods and services.
“I cannot promise you that this will be an easy journey but in the interest of so much and so many we must tread this difficult path. But I can assure you this government you have freely elected will work with honesty and dedication day and night to ensure that our country prospers and that the prosperity benefits all Nigerians. “
Buhari assured that N200 billion has been allocated to road construction a needed infusion, however, in past administrations, presidents like Goodluck Jonathan failed to practice what he preached.
“To illustrate our renewed commitment to infrastructural development, the 2016 budget allocates over N200 billion to road construction as against a paltry N18 billion allocated for the same purpose in the 2015 budget.”
“We are experiencing probably the toughest economic times in the history of our nation. I want to commend the sacrifice, resilience and toughness of all Nigerians young and old who have despite the hardships continued to have hope and confidence of a great future for Nigerians”.
“But permit me to say that this government is also like none other. We are absolutely committed to changing the structure of the Nigerian economy once and for all”, the President added.
If the present administration is committed to the course of changing the structure of the Nigerian economy, then it would be ideal to wait and see how those changes will be implemented in order to alleviate the plight of Nigerians.