BY VICTORIA ONU, ABUJA
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Federal Government will this month submit the 2022 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Top officials in the Budget Office of the Federation with knowledge of the development confirmed this to The Point on Sunday in Abuja.
With the plan to submit the budget to the lawmakers this month, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari may have succeeded in putting to an end the era of late submission of the budget.
Already, the lawmakers had approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper for 2022-2024, paving the way for the President to submit the budget estimates.
The preparation of the budget estimates for Ministries, Departments and Agencies usually take into consideration the Medium Term Policies/Strategies contained in the Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which is the Federal Government’s pre-budget statement.
The MTEF/FSP outlines the development priorities of the Federal Government for the period covered.
In recent times, there have been disagreements 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 the month of June 2017.
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.
Findings by The Point further revealed that the Federal Government is proposing to spend the sum of N94.628bn for social investment programmes in the 2022 fiscal period.
The Federal Government’s social investment programmes are the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme; Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme; N-Power and the National Cash Transfer Programme.
Considering the positive impact of the Social Investment Programme, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved an increase in the number of N-Power program beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000.
Out of this, 510,000 have started the programme while the competitive selection process for onboarding the outstanding 490,000 beneficiaries is in progress.
The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme is currently being implemented in 35 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
Over 103,000 women have been engaged and empowered as cooks under the programme, while about 10 million pupils are being fed across public primary schools in the country.
To grant increased access to credit to the most poor and vulnerable, the Federal Government had increase the disbursement of Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme loans to an additional one million beneficiaries, laying more emphasis on the smallholding farmers through the farmers Moni program.