While the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration may have finally returned Nigeria to a January – December budget cycle, concerns now turn to actual implementation of the budget given Nigeria’s history of sub-optimal budget implementation.
These concerns again emerged after Tracka, a project monitoring platform by BudgIT disclosed some unfavourable statistics on the implementation of the 2018 Zonal Intervention Projects popularly known as “Constituency Projects”. Yesterday, at the launch of the Tracka Federal Constituency Projects Tracking Report, it was revealed that the only 31.7% of the federal constituency projects of 2018 were completed.
Analysing further, the report revealed that of the 1,497 projects tracked, 475 projects (31.7%) were completed, 144 projects (9.6%) are currently ongoing, 536 projects (35.8%) were yet to commence, 42 projects (2.8%) considered as abandoned while 224 projects (15.0%) had unspecified locations. However, we note the survey was carried out across only 26 states of the federation between June 2018 and November 2019.
Nigeria’s history of poor budget implementation is well known. While the government tries to reasonably cover its recurrent portion of the budget, the struggle has always been to adequately implement its capital budget. Our analysis reveals average completion rate of Nigeria’s capital budget between 2014 and 9M:2019 of 46.2% which is poor for an economy with infrastructural deficit valued at trillions of dollars.
The reasons for this poor budget implementation are not far-fetched; consistently poor revenue generation, endemic corrupt practices, needless bureaucratic processes are chief among these. In our view, efforts at boosting revenue generation, ensuring transparency and formulating proper policies to guide implementation would improve budget implementation.