Abuja – A don, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu, says Federal Government can implement 70 per cent of the 2017 budget just signed into law by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, with commitment and accountability.

The total budget figure signed is put at N7.44 trillion.

Osinbajo signs the 2017 Appropriation Law, with Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President, Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Ita Enang, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker House of Representatives

Anyanwu, the Head of Economics Department, University of Abuja, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, the budget will also be realistic with honesty.

The National Assembly had on May 11, passed the budget, increasing the total sum by N143 billion compared to what was sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari had in December 2016, sent the N7.30 trillion budget, tagged “Budget of Recovery and Growth’’ to the National Assembly.

“If they work round the clock, they will achieve up to 60 to 70 per cent but the budget cannot be fully implemented.

“It cannot be fully implemented because there are some projects that are long term and they have to follow due process which may affect the implementation,’’ Anyanwu said.

The don said that another factor that could affect the full implementation of the budget was the deviation between amount budgeted and the one released.

She said that the budgeted and the actual release were not always the same.

“Again, with the short time, there will be problem with approval and releases, so many things that needed to be done will not be done.

“So, we cannot expect full implementation of the budget.

“ It is now left for the Finance Minister to work round the clock for the releases because so many Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will be rushing to get their money out.

“Also, the money is not there, the country relies on oil; it sells monthly before it shares the money because the government don’t have the money on ground to give,’’ she said.

The don, however, emphasised on the need for the government to be accountable and make sacrifice to work round the clock to get releases for the approved funds.

She also advised the government to reduce bureaucracy so that it would be able to achieve reasonable percentage in the implementation of the budget.

According to her, the time is too short for the implementation but it can get at least three quarter of the target implemented.

“The timing is really wrong, we have lost almost six months already and by November, they will start asking MDAs to return money to the treasury.

“The government will start the process of passing 2018 budget that time is so short, the short time is a disadvantage to the achievement of the budget.’’

Earlier, Osinbajo said his signing of the budget was a milestone in the implementation of the economic and growth plan programme put in place by Buhari in April.

He said the processes of putting the budget in place had been smoother than that of 2016 with no allegations of errors.

“There were far few cases of acrimony unlike in the past. There is no doubt at all that our democracy is maturing very well,” he said.

The 2016 ‘Budget of Change’ was the first full year budget of the Buhari’s administration while the 2017 “Budget of Recovery and Growth” will be the second budget prepared by the administration.

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