Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said, yesterday, that President Muhammadu Buhari merged the Ministry of Budget and National Planning with that of Finance to remove strains and delays in policy implementations.
She also said the economic priorities of the government in its second term would be agriculture, food security and power,
The minister, who spoke at a discussion programme of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Good Morning Nigeria, said other areas of focus of the Federal Government would be manufacturing and Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, financing, housing and the fight against corruption.
According to her, the about nine thematic priority areas formed the working document, which was developed and handed to the ministers at the pre-inauguration retreat.
She said: “We did a quick assessment on the ERGP’s impact on households. We have agreed that the priority will have to be agriculture and food security, power petroleum, as well as, oil and gas, manufacturing, as well as Small and Medium Enterprises; and the alignment of the fiscal and monetary policies. Of course security and fight against corruption and we added housing and financing of SMEs.”
Why Buhari merged Budget and Planning with Finance
Ahmed said Buhari merged Ministry of Budget and National Planning with Finance to remove strains and delays in policy implementations.
She said: “The intention was to link budget with plans because in the past we have had beautiful plans but somehow, they were not implemented.
“But it was still problematic because there was the challenge of the implementation of the budget and there was this gap as to what what was seen as priority as seen by the Ministry of Finance and what was seen as the priority as seen by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“Of course the Ministry of Finance is the treasury, so it always had its way because it was the one that was disbursing the funds. It created a significant strain and the president decided to correct and revert, to bring back the Budget Office to the Ministry of Finance and brought the Planning to the Ministry so that we can maintain the positive trend of linking budget with plans.
- Closing forex gap
The minister also said that her team would work more closely with the monetary authorities for better coordination of the economy.
She said: “As a result of the gaps, the monetary authorities are developing or implementing policies that ideally should have been done by the fiscal authorities. So we have to bridge that gap.
“And maybe because there is not enough impetus from the fiscal side, the monetary authorities appear in some cases to be running faster than the fiscal.”