NIGERIA by gyvwpsjkko


Legal framework for transparency
•   Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, as well as other laws and regulations, provide a
    framework for budget planning, enactment, implementation and monitoring.
•   However, the existing legal framework is inadequate and includes
    contradictory and ambiguous provisions. There is a need for a
    comprehensive, over-arching budget law to replace obsolete laws and
•   The Constitution gives authority to the National Assembly to determine
    government expenditure. Yet it does not call for parliamentary approval of
    government revenue or financing plans. The Constitution is also silent on the
    amendment powers of the Legislatures and on appropriate timeframes for
    budget debate and approval.
•   There is no law that specifies what documents are to accompany the budget
    or how and when budget information is to be disseminated. Similarly, there is
    no requirement to release information on actual in-year spending,
    procurement, public assets and liabilities.
•   The legal framework does not provide for public participation in the budget
Clarity of roles and responsibilities
•   Even though the Constitution defines roles and responsibilities in the budget
    process, these are not clear in practice. Multiple institutions have similar and
    over-lapping responsibilities over budget preparation, management and
•   There is duplication of budget-related responsibilities within the Executive and
    amongst the three tiers of government. When poor budget performance
    affects service delivery to citizens, this leaves loop-holes and confusion
    around who is to be held accountable.
•   It is not clear exactly how authority over government budgeting is divided
    between the Executive and the Legislature. The constitutional provisions in
    this regard can be interpreted in different ways, leading to frequent frictions
    and undue delays.
•   Roles and responsibilities for budget monitoring and evaluation are poorly
    coordinated amongst the various institutions, ministries and departments.
Public availability of information
•   The budget process in Nigeria is closed and shrouded in mystery. Budget
    planning is conducted by non-elected public officers who are not accessible to
•   No pre-budget statement, setting out government’s policy objectives and
    macro-economic outlook, is made available to the Legislatures or the public
    for consideration and debate.
•   Available budget information is not comprehensive or user-friendly. In
    general, information on actual spending by government is irregular,
    incoherent and inadequate.
•   The reliability of budget information is questionable, marked by significant
    discrepancies between projected and actual expenditure.
•   Budget information is not explicitly linked to policy objectives and rarely
    includes measurable targets or a clear overview of assumptions and priorities.
Capacity and systems in the budget process
•   Capacity at all levels of government remains a major challenge for improved
    budgeting. The Department of Finance’s Budget Office and the Office of the
    Auditor General both have critical responsibilities within the budget process.
    Yet both are hamstrung by inadequate human resources, expertise, systems
    and tools.
•   The budget process is still largely manual and requires urgent modernisation
    to bring about more effective budget management and tracking.
•   To strengthen its oversight role in the budget process, the National Assembly
    needs greater capacity to undertake research and analysis. The planned
    establishment of a Legislative Budget Office is a positive development.
•   The processes and instruments for the division of revenue amongst the tiers
    of government lack clarity and transparency.
Management of extra-budgetary activities
•   Nigeria has a large public enterprise sector. Even so, there is no consistent
    legal framework governing the management or monitoring of extra-budgetary
•   Both the Accountant General and the Auditor General have access to the
    books and accounts of extra-budgetary trust funds. However, they have no
    real authority in this regard as extra-budgetary activities fall outside the scope
    of their constitutional mandates.
•   Information about extra-budgetary funds is not readily available to the public
    or the Legislatures. For some funds, records are kept independently by
    separate government agencies without any form of reconciliation.
Participation in the budget process
•   Civil society and the Legislatures are entirely excluded from participation in
    budget planning. There is no way for civil society to communicate its needs
    and concerns to government as it prepares the budget.
•   Civil society, the organised private sector and the media have some
    opportunities to attend budget readings and hearings during the legislative
    phase. However, there is currently no real scope or time for these role-players
    to make substantial contributions to the budget debate within the Legislatures.
•   Poor access to and quality of budget information further undermines the
    ability of civil society and the media to research, monitor and comment on
    government budgeting.
The role of donor funding
•   Donor agencies have more opportunities than civil society to participate in the
    budget process. They often engage directly with the Executive around
    strategies for the implementation of donor funding.
•   Donors also play an active part in budget monitoring, using their own
    independent capacity to track the implementation of grants and loans.

        The research in Nigeria was conducted by Oshuwa Gbadebo-Smith. Oshuwa is a managing
                           consultant with Harriet Davidson Consulting, Nigeria.

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