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Buhari improved budget cycle, infrastructure

Minister of State, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has credited the outgoing regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for improving the nation’s budget and infrastructural development.

Speaking at his end-of-tenure press conference in Abuja, Agba stated that the Buhari regime recorded milestones in the budget cycle, infrastructure and healthcare delivery.

He said that beginning with the 2020 budget, the regime was able to establish a stable, predictable January to December budget cycle, which was sustained for four consecutive years.

The minister of budget and planning also stressed the need for integrated rural development, which he said was key to solving urban area problems, explaining that provision of opportunities in the rural areas would stem the tide of rural-urban migrations that had the potential of creating slums in the urban areas.

Agba mentioned that the regime had a good score in areas of improved budgetary processes, improved procurement process and its fight against corruption.

But the regime failed to fulfil its promise to bequeath a transparent and open procurement process to Nigeria after eight years in office despite creation of the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal which has failed to take effect till date.

As regards the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal which is yet to take effect, Agba said it was due to technical issues, a reason the administration has always given.

He added, “We developed a citizen-based web app-THE EYEMARK- to enable Nigerians in the country and in the diaspora to track the execution of capital projects and report progress to the government. We saw the implementation of Grid 3 technology, which deploys geospatial data for evidence-based decision making and the promotion of effective coordination,” he stated.

Agba said the development, approval, and launch of the National Development Plan 2021-2025 a medium-term plan, the launch of Nigeria Agenda 2050, the development of Nigeria’s food system pathways implementation strategy, and the launch of multi–dimensional poverty index measuring tools are some of the achievements of his tenure.

The NDP 2021–2025 was introduced to ensure continuity of the plan and to remove the binding constraints militating against the private sector drive and frontline participation in funding the plan, which, for instance, targets filling the $2.3 trillion infrastructure gap, which would require an annual $150 billion expenditure over five to 10 year-period.

“Under his watch, the ministry of budget and planning supported the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria, the improvement of Nigeria’s electoral management body and increased youth and people living with disabilities’ participation in the electoral system,” he stated.

While speaking on his achievements in office, he stated that the ministry coordinated the EU support response to drugs and related organised crimes in Nigeria in the development and publication of the national drug control master plan for Nigeria (2015 – 2020, and 2021 – 2025) and both were endorsed by Buhari.