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Niyi Odebode, Olalekan Adetayo, and Eniola Akinkuotu
There were strong indications on Tuesday President Muhammadu Buhari would today (Wednesday) spell out yardsticks for monitoring the implementation of the 2016 budget.
The PUNCH reliably gathered that the yardsticks would be discussed at the Federal Executive Council meeting, which the President had directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, to convene.
It was learnt that besides the budget implementation metrics, the FEC meeting on Wednesday (today) would also focus on the problems (grey areas) associated with the 2016 budget, which was returned to the executive two weeks ago.
The President has yet to sign the budget which has pitted the executive arm of government against the legislature.
Investigations showed that the administration was ready to depart from the past practice of paying lip service to budget implementation.
It was gathered that the President had on many occasions warned members of his cabinet to be serious with budget implementation and guard against corrupt practices.
It was learnt that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had submitted a memo, which would be discussed at the FEC meeting.
A source in the finance ministry, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “One of the areas where corruption is rampant is budget implementation. The essence of the budget implementation exercise is to ensure that every kobo in the budget is accounted for. The President will not tolerate the practice of diverting funds.”
Another top government official, who spoke with The PUNCH on the condition of anonymity, said, “I can confirm to you that one of the issues that will be discussed at the Wednesday meeting is the approval of the 2016 Budget Monitoring Exercise in ministries.”
He said the implementation would be monitored on ministry byministry basis.
The source added that the meeting would also discuss and approve the 2017 Budget Preparation Calendar.
The calendar, it was learnt, would set out timeline for the preparation and submission of the 2017 budget which Buhari wants to be done with on time.
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Source: Punch News