EFFECTIVE BUDGETARY IMPLEMENTATION AS A TOOL FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF AKWA IBOM STATE)
It is often said that Nigeria produces the best annual budget in the whole of Sub-Saharan African. This assertion cannot be doubted because the nation is blessed with an intimidating array of top class financial experts in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and ministries in-charge of finance, planning and budget. Ordinarily, this huge advantage should have helped to drive Nigeria up the ladder of developed nations in the world.
Over the years, poor budget implementation by the executive arm of government at local, state, and federal level has sabotaged key public infrastructures such as transport, power and communication among others. This said development has unfortunately led to a steady increase in the cost of business in Nigeria in the last ten years (Ayemokhia, 2010)
A very close observation of the state of the nation would lead one to the conclusion that the political class has not been able to appreciate the relationship between effective budget implementation and national development. Budgeting is an integral component of constitutional democracy. Apart from promoting transparency and accountability in public fund management, budgeting is also a fiscal investment for self assessment.
It is also necessary to note that complete budgeting protocol enhances effective planning, monitoring and implementation of recurrent and capital proposals. But regrettably, Budgeting culture in Nigeria mostly begins and ends with planning alone because over sight functions carried out by the legislative arm of government in the past as it concerns budget monitoring have been nothing but mere window dressing. This fact has helped to condemn budgets as more annual rituals. Poor budget implementation in Nigeria is a huge indictment on the executive and legislative arms of government at the Local, State and Federal levels.
In all advanced and most developing countries, citizens and the organized private sector aroids annual budget released with nostalgias. This is so because, budget outlines government’s current fiscal policies and these in turn shaped the socio-economic out looks for the year. With this, investments options and directions are made.
Effective budget monitoring and implementation remains one source route to Nigeria’s socio-economic development. The other important task is that federal government should embark on immediate diversification strengthening the non-oil sector. This will effectively tackle the problems of dwindling revenue.
Ono (1980) defined budget as an annual comprehensive report of the state of nation’s economy with review to old economic and social problems that anticipates nero ones, it surveys the future prospects of economy and translates problems into goals and objectives.
Government budget is very important in the economy in the sense that all enterprise within the economy direct their activities towards the budgetary plans from Ono’s definition, it can rightly said that, the revenue base of the economy is well defined and stated in the budget. Similarly, the items of government expenditure are highlighted and are clearly stated in the budget.