State House

An economist, Prof. Okey Onuchukwwu, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of the 2018 budget when passed into law.

Onuchukwu, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, made the appeal while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt.

He noted that budget implementation had remained a major problem in the country.

The don spoke against the backdrop of 2018 Budget proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The Federal Government plans to spend about N8.612 trillion in 2018, a 16 per cent increase over the 2017 budget of N7.44 trillion.

The revenue projection is predicated on crude oil price benchmark of 45 dollars per barrel and daily crude oil production of 2.3 million barrels at N305 to the dollar.

Onuchukwu said that the Muhammed Buhari-led government had in the past two fiscal years “failed to religiously implement the budget’’.

The economist, however, expressed fears that the 45 dollars per barrel benchmark for oil sales appeared unrealistic following the unsteady nature of oil prices.

He said that some projects had continued to reappear in the 2018 appropriation because they were not fully implemented in 2017.

“I am saying this because some projects keep reappearing in the budget every year. We have seen the Ogoni cleanup reappear.

“The issue is not to put down figures and projects on paper; the issue is to ensure that those figures are implemented,’’ the economist said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2018 budget is tagged “Budget of Consolidation’’.

The president had announced that it would consolidate on the achievements of the 2017 budget.

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