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Home Opinion Know your budget: As Katsina Government Budget Goes Online – AbdurRahman Abdullahi Dutsin-Ma
Know your budget: As Katsina Government Budget Goes Online – AbdurRahman Abdullahi Dutsin-Ma

Know your budget: As Katsina Government Budget Goes Online – AbdurRahman Abdullahi Dutsin-Ma

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Know your budget: As Katsina Government Budget Goes Online – AbdurRahman Abdullahi Dutsin-Ma

Apart from the constitution, the second most important document of any country is its budget document. While the constitution is about the rules governing the state, budget is the entirety of governance in monetary terms.

The government institutions of a country or state are run with money. Social services and other responsibilities carried out by the government for the betterment of the lives of citizenry are all provided with money. People are employed with money. In short, nothing can be achieved in governance without money. Thus, to make spending in governance well coordinated, a budget is prepared every year by the government to give it sense of direction on how to source money and where to spend it.

Budget is a wishful financial document containing targeted income and expenditure. It is a financial blueprint which has details of where to get money and how to spend it in the process of governance. Government, Private Organizations and individuals do budget to guide their financial transactions and minimize wastages. Budget is developed based on earnings.

Normally, government budget lasts for one year; running from January to December.

A distinction between personal and government budget is, while government budget is planned for a year, personal or individual budget could be for a day, week, month or months, a year or more.

However, in terms of expected income and implementation, individual budget is more realistic in most cases.

Government budget is developed and implemented in stages. The first stage called planning stage begins with issuance of call circular to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government be it of State or Federal. The call circular is initiated by the central coordinating body of the budget activity which could be the Ministry of Finance, Department of Budget and Economic Planning or any institution assigned with the responsibility, in case of states and the Budget office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the Federal budget. The call circular comes with guidelines which include the government priorities for that financial year, the budget ceiling for the MDAs, approved template, timeline for submissions, etc.

Once an MDA developed its budget proposal, the proposal will be sent to the budget coordinating centre where submissions from all the MDAs will be collated and harmonized into a single document called proposed budget. The proposed budget will then be presented to the State House of Assembly in case of State budget and if it’s a Federal budget, it will be presented to the National House of Assembly and is normally made by the State Governor or President respectively. This takes the budget process to legislation stage.

At this stage, the house works on the budget page by page, item by item taking into consideration, the viability and financial justifications for each item. The bulk work of budget scrutiny at the House is done the House Appropriation Committee. Key activities that characterised budget legislation stage include conduct of Public hearing and budget defence by respective MDAs.

The house also has power to modify the budget by adding or reviewing cost of a project, modifying or removing a project at a time of budget defence based on genuine reasons.

When the proposed budget passed legislation process at the house, the document will be transmitted back to the Governor or President in case of State or Federal budget respectively for assent. From there, the budget becomes a law and no one can alter its provision without undergoing another legislation process.

At this level, the budget enters third stage; the implementation stage. Implementation takes from the time the budget has been approved and assented to, to the time when budget for the following year takes effect. In a normal circumstance, a budget implementation should not extend to the following year.

The last stage of the budget cycle is the evaluation stage. This involves feedbacks on the budget performance and impacts. Budget is evaluated through Accountant general reports, Audited account reports, public views on the implemented projects, MDA returns on actual funds release and utilization, media reports, among others. Evaluation of previous budget guides the formulation of subsequent budgets.

One important thing that makes a budget effective and efficient is public participation. As a public document meant for addressing public issues, citizens should be carried along all the budget processes.

AbdurRahman Abdullahi Dutsin-Ma

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