ABUJA – THE Federal Government on Thursday said that the 2018 budget proposal will be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and passage as was already promised. Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma who gave the assurance while briefing State House correspondents at the Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja where members of the Federal Executive Council were having a retreat on the 2018 budget said that the delay in the presentation of the budget estimate to the National Assembly was as a result of the annual vacation the lawmakers had embarked on.
He also said that the focus of the retreat with the theme “Building Synergy For Effective ERPG Implementation”, was to review the Economic Recovery Growth Plan, ERGP, of the Federal Government as well as the performance of the 2017 budget. According to him, “It (the retreat) was basically about the ERGP and preparations for the 2018 budget and linking the plan with the budget and we will be briefing cabinet members about the linkages between the plan and the budget. “Basically we have to keep on reviewing at every stage, so this review is looking at where we are, what needs to be done and what steps we need to take in areas that we need to fast rack. “We need to review what we are doing at the stage of implementation. So this was the purpose of the meeting.” On the level of performance of the ERGP and the 2017 budget, he said a remarkable achievement had been recorded so far. He said, “We are moving ahead in terms of the modalities that have been defined. This is not the time to actually say what stage and so on. We will be giving briefings and so on.” Commenting on when the executive will submit the MTEF for the 2018 budget estimate to the National Assembly, the Minister said it would be as soon as the members of the National Assembly come back from their annual vacation. Udoma said, “National Assembly is on break so nearer the time they will resume in September but ours is to follow the fiscal responsibility act which has some timelines and we are trying to keep strictly by those timelines. “So the budget will get to the National Assembly by October that was our commitment. We will go all out to make that happen, we made a commitment that we will do that on our part and we intend to deliver on that commitment. This is a government that delivers on its promises.”