Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that it is difficult to revert to January to December cycle of the national budget.
Udoma, who said this in Abuja when the executives of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) paid him a courtesy call, noted that the initial efforts by the executive to return annual budgets to the regular January to December cycle met with some challenges, promising, however, that the government would still try to achieve this in the subsequent budgets.
The Minister told his guests that the fight against corruption should be a collective one, and that professional bodies like ICAN have a critical role to play if the fight is to be successful.
He explained that corruption has been the bane of development in the country, which is why the Muhammadu Buhari administration is focused on tackling it to save resources for human and infrastructure development. To build a strong and prosperous nation, the Minister sought the collaboration of ICAN to win the fight against corruption.
“We have to work together with strong resolve and never give up notwithstanding any frustration,” he said, adding that the present government has a philosophy of continuing with good projects no matter which administration conceived or started it.
According to him, the government also has a responsibility in the process to protect investors by taking their interest into consideration even when reviewing policies and actions taken by previous administrations.
The government, he said, does not believe in jettisoning projects because they were initiated by a previous government; rather it builds on the good ones and reviews others in line with the policy direction of the administration.
“We have to build on what is good, and tweak what is not so good until we arrive at what is desirable. You do not make investors suffer simply because a new government is in place, by abandoning or cancelling projects,” he added.
Earlier, the ICAN President, Razak Jaiyeola, expressed concern over the delays in the passage of the budgets, saying that the Federal Government should engage its members in the preparation of the appropriation bill.
The president said that the preparation of the budget requires skills and competences, which are the inherent assets of professional accountants.
Jaiyeola, however, noted the strides recorded by the ministry despite the challenges and resource constraints it is facing and said the institute is encouraged by the significant success recorded with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which the government initiated to rejig the nation’s development process.
“Indeed, the record of achievements of the plan confirms that the country is truly on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth,” he added.