Nigerians express concern over delay in passing 2016 budget

Abuja, Nigeria. April 26th, 2016 – Latest public opinion poll released by NOIPolls has revealed that Nigerians have expressed concern over delays in the approval and signing of the 2016 budget. This sums up the result of the nationwide poll, where an average of about 8 in 10 respondents who seemed aware of the non-passage of the budget, thought that the release of the budget was long overdue and cautioned that further delays could adversely affect the country. Curiously, when probed on the sort of adverse effects the delay could have on the country, about 3 in 10 Nigerians thought it could ‘slow down business activities’, while others thought it could lead to ‘stagnation in the economy’ (17 percent), ‘poor budget implementation’ (13 percent), ‘deepening the fuel crisis’ (11 percent) and ‘increase in prices of goods and services’ amongst others. Similarly, when asked about which sectors of the economy should be given priority in the 2016 budget, the Agricultural sector was first mentioned (30 percent), followed by Education (21 percent), Job creation (13 percent), Health (8 percent) and Power (8 percent) amongst other sectors. These are the key findings from the 2016 Budget Poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week of April 18th 2016.

Brief Background

In March 2016, the Nigerian National Assembly passed the 2016 budget, with an unusual reduction in the budget’s total. According to news reports, this is the first time since 1999 that the National Assembly would approve an amount lower than the figure proposed by the executive. Following the passage of the 2016 budget, reports revealed the President has ordered all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to thoroughly review the budget before it is sent to him for approval in order to ascertain if any significant amendments were made by the legislature that are inconsistent with the spending plan of the executive arm of government.[1]

It is four months and counting since the President presented the Nigerian 2016 budget before the National Assembly, though, yet to be approved. This budget is perhaps the most important piece of document in governance apart from the constitution since it is through the budget that resources are allocated to deliver public goods and services to the people. It is therefore not surprising that politicians, public servants, political activists, development practitioners, the civil society and other stakeholders engage intensely with the budgetary process in order to drive development.[2] Sequel to this, NOIPolls, conducted a poll to ascertain the views and perceptions of Nigerians regarding the 2016 budget.

Survey Findings

The questionnaire was administered to only respondents who were knowledgeable of the Nigerian budget; this was established through a screener question. Respondent’s perception on the delay of the 2016 budget was assessed and the results revealed that a vast number of Nigerians (81 percent) reported that the 2016 budget is long overdue for approval and implementation. In light of the above, majority of Nigerians (85 percent) stressed that the delay in the approval and implementation of the 2016 budget will definitely affect the nation’s economy

Budget outlines government’s current fiscal policies and in turn shapes the socio-economic outlook for a given year; hence, investment options and directions are made. When these expectations are delayed, it creates economic uncertainties; therefore, the effective and timely execution of quarterly and annual work plans is certainly more difficult. As a result of this, the perception of Nigerians was assessed on the effect of the delay in the approval of the budget and findings revealed that most respondents (31 percent) perceive ‘slow down business activities’ as an effect of the delay. This is followed by respondents who cited ‘stagnation in the economy’ (17 percent), ‘poor budget implementation’ (13 percent), ‘deepening fuel crisis’ (11 percent) and ‘increase in prices of goods and services’ (9 percent) other mentions.

An assessment of the perception of Nigerians on the order of priority in the budget considering the sector of the Nigerian economy revealed that 3 in 10 Nigerians (30 percent) believe that the agricultural sector deserves the highest allocation in the 2016 budget. This is no surprise considering the great potentials that lie in the agricultural sector.

Other mentions include ‘education’ (21 percent), ‘job creation’ (13 percent), ‘health’ (8 percent) and ‘power’ (8 percent) amongst other sectors.

In conclusion, 3 in 10 Nigerians have affirmed that the delay in approval and implementation of the budget will affect business activities; indicating ‘slow down business activities’ (31 percent), ‘stagnation in the economy’ (17 percent), and ‘poor budget implementation’ (13 percent) as some of the effects of the delay in approval of the budget amongst others. While the 2016 Budget is targeted at raising non-oil tax revenues and increasing capital spending, It will be promising if government should plan to align fiscal, monetary, trade and industrial policies. This along with other policies intended to boost the economy will help improve the economic fortune of businesses and individuals.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of April 18th 2016. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/200742-senate-house-reps-passed-2016-budget.html

[2] http://topnews.ng/2016-budget-public-administration-reform-nigeria/