The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria on Tuesday called on the executive and the legislature to amend the constitution to capture the actual date for the passage and signing of the budget document.
The President of the institute, Dr Cyril Ede, made the call in Abuja at a stakeholders’ meeting on the 2018 budget.
He said while many developed countries had the timelines of their budget captured in their constitutions, Nigeria had yet to adopt that in its constitution.
In recent times, there have been disagreement between the executive and the National Assembly over the passage of the annual Federal Government budget.
As a result of the power tussle between the executive and the legislature, the budget implementation has always commenced very late into the year.
For instance, the 2011 budget was passed on March 25, 2011, while that of 2012 was passed on March 14 of that same year.
For the 2013 budget, it was passed by the lawmakers on December 20, 2012 and signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2013, while the 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets were also signed in the month of May of each year.
The 2017 budget, which was submitted to the lawmakers in December 2016, was not passed and assented to until June of last year.
The 2018 budget, which was designed to consolidate on the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, was presented to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.
It was passed by the lawmakers on May 16, 2018; transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on May 25 and assented to on June 20.
Represented at the event by the Vice President, CITN, Ms Olajumoke Simplice, Ede said the delays, which the budgeting process in Nigeria had been subjected to in the past, would be addressed by constitutional provisions.
He said, “We want to look at the budget because the budget is the key thing that drives the economy of this nation. Professionals should start to put pressure on the government, because in developed climes, the date of the budget passage is stated in the constitution.
“It is not in our own constitution in Nigeria. We now need to put pressure on the government to put a time that the budget must be passed. We have a lot of time lags; preparation time lags, confirmation time lags and implementation time lags; it is not necessary.”