Akin Akande, Abuja
Except the major stakeholders change the process of making the annual national budget, giving recourse to an adequate planning process, the current defective system of planning annual national budget that can never lead to growth and development.
This was the submission of senators and various speakers and experts at the opening of a two-day public hearing on the review of national planning and budgeting process.
The public hearing was organised by the Senate Joint Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Finance.
The Chairman of the Senate joint committee, Senator Barnabas Gemade, said the need to review the current national planning and budgeting process was prompted by a debate on a motion raised by Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi on the issue.
The Senate had, during the debate, unanimously agreed that there was a sharp disconnect between the multiyear development plans and the annual budget under which the Ministry prepared the budget, with little or no regards to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Senator Abu Ibrahim, who represented Senate President David Mark, said budget was key to accountability, noting that it should have the input of the legislature to give it a national outlook.
Mr. Henry Boyo, a financial analyst, called for a development plan involving a consultative and process to meet clearly defined targets.
He also said the collaborative process, which was the main essence of the motion, must be in consonance with what obtained in more successful economies, including power, transportation and social recreation, among others.
For Mike Kwanashie, a professor of Economics and Vice Chancellor, Veritas University, there was a massive disconnect between planning process and budgeting process.
Stating that a good budgeting was a logical outcome of good planning, he said planning was important in the quest to stop budget failure.
He said the move by the Senate to restore planning process was a right step in the right direction, adding that it was the best step taken so far in the current democratic dispensation.
Chukwuma Agu of the Institute of Development Studies said there was the need to completely overhaul the national planning institutions in the country.
To get out of poor budget implementation, he suggested that pro-poor growth must be pursued, while the government, though important, should be made less invisible and less obtrusive.
Mr. Ayodele Omotoso, a former director in the National Planning Commission, recommended that the National Planning Commission Decree 17, 1993 should be amended to create a connect between planning and budgeting process.
Omotoso said there should adequate funding, noting that planning and budgeting process were not cheap, as they needed the input of experts.
He also said there should be an early engagement between the executive and the legislature for effective budgeting process and implementation.