Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said he had plan to end the underground internal wrangling among some key members of staff of the ministry.
He said that as the head of the ministry, he was working tirelessly to ensure team-work and annihilation of possible dichotomy so that the nation’s economy does not suffer as a result.
Udoma, who stated this in Abuja at a one-day summit convened by the Nigerian Economic Society (NES) at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Training Institute, noted that the new arrangement whereby the National Planning Commission (NPC) office is merged with the Budget Office is part of plan to make budgets meet targeted goals.The minister assured that he was on top of the matter to eschew any form of role-conflicts and promote team-spirit among the personnel.“The initiative to merge the budget and the national planning commission is part of government’s conscious effort to close the gap between planning and budgeting system in the country.
“With the merger, members of staff of the budget and national planning are now under the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. And I am currently working hard as the minister to ensure seamless co-operation and integration of the two to ensure efficiency”, Udoma said.
President of NES, Prof. Ben Aigbohan, in his remark restated the readiness of the society to train key members of staff of the budget and national planning ministry to enable them grapple with the demands of the new system.
He also stressed the need for Nigeria to return to the former comprehensive planning and budgeting system, which was predicated on research and data gathering.
Also, Prof. Mike Obadan, Guest Speaker at the summit, harped on the need for the Federal Government to establish definition of duties for members of staff of the budget, planning and finance ministry, saying that until that is done, there would be internal conflicts at the expense of the nation’s development.
“Government needed to clear the air on definition of duties ascribed to various offices in the Finance Ministry for instance which has a Director-General on Budget, whereas there is also a Permanent Secretary in the same ministry. This is important to avoid function overlap and prevent budget failure”, he said.
Speaking further on why the culture of proper budgeting has been eroded in the country, the university don said that inability of Nigeria to maintain its once viable national rolling plan, among other short, medium and long term budget systems, are because SAP insisted on their suspension despite their far-reaching usefulness.
The university don said that SAP had failed to achieve set goals of revamping the nation’s economy, creation of wealth and new jobs, as well as stamping out poverty, but appeared to have worsen them, adding that this meant that the programme was a failure in Nigeria.