On November 7, 2017, President Muhammad Buhari presented the 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.

He had said then he hoped that the budget would be passed before the end of the year.

Now, we are already in January and full deliberation on the budget has not started even at the committee level.

Several unforeseen issues had cropped up which is delaying the budget passage.

It had been hoped that the government would take advantage of the relatively early presentation to return Nigeria’s fiscal year to its initial January calendar. But it is now obvious that that is not going to happen.

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There are several reasons accounting for the delay. Again, accusations of padding has reared its head; the National Assembly are also said to be unhappy with the poor implementation of the 2017 budget while accusing the government of inputting into the budget, unrealistic revenue projections.

There are also issues about appropriate officers not coming forward to defend the budget. And some of the committees of the National Assembly are not happy with that.

At a basic level, it would be hard to think of how the delayed budget would affect you. But it sure affects everyone, says Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, who spoke to Bounce News on the issue.

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According to Yusuf, the delay in the budget passage “has serious implication for capital project implementation which is very important for infrastructural development. And availability of lack of right infrastructure is something that affects everyone”.

“Each time you talk about non-implementation of the budget, the victim or the casualty is always the capital project, infrastructure projects and that makes it very disturbing,” said Yusuf, who had always canvassed for quick passage of the budget to drive economic growth.

He also explained that the delay "is also going to have implications for planning both on the path of public and private sector".

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This, he said, is "because there are some private sector operators that look up to the budget for what they will do during the year. This is the case in construction industry for instance, because government is a major player in that industry”.

Budget passage delay, he noted, is something that Nigerians should be worried about, and they really need to appeal to the government to fast-track the process.

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