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Cablegate: Budget Implementation: National Assembly

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

061140Z Feb 04

UNCLAS ABUJA 000184

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PGOV NI
SUBJECT: BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
COMMITTEE PROPOSES MANDATORY RELEASE OF FUNDS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON THE
INTERNET OR INTRANET

1. (SBU) Summary: The Chairman of the House Committee on
Appropriations, Rep. Gabriel Suswan, presented his
Committee's white paper on the budget February 3, the result
of a recent three-day retreat for members of his committee
to prepare for the budget debate. Suswan declared that the
Committee would insert a mandatory requirement in the budget
to release funds by dates certain, and noted several
problems the Committee had with the budget itself. The
Chairman has not yet announced a timetable for the budget
debate. End Summary.

2. (U) Members of the National Assembly's House Committee on
Appropriations spent a three-day retreat during the Eid-el-
Adha weekend in Makurdi, Benue State. The retreat was an
opportunity for the members to discuss the budget recently
submitted by the Presidency to the National Assembly.
Chairman Gabriel Suswan announced after the retreat that the
members had decided to insert a mandatory requirement into
the budget to release funds for allocated expenditures by a
designated date. The chairman has not announced a timetable
for the House to vote on a revised budget, although it is
believed that the due date for revisions will be moved to
February 20.

3. (U) Chairman Suswan also mentioned a number of problems
that the committee noted in the draft budget. They thought
33 percent allocation of government revenues for domestic
debt service was far too high. He also noted that profits
from the privatization program were not included in the
draft as revenue, that there were several line items of
capital expenditures for projects already abandoned in
previous years, and that there was no mention of pension
reform.

4. (SBU) Unfortunately for Nigeria, well over half of last
year's budget has never been implemented; funds were never
released to the ministries for the allocated line items
within the budget. Given the GON's trend of the budget
having little to do with how federal funds are actually
spent, it will be an uphill fight on budget implementation
and there is no certainty that the Committee's rather
unsophisticated "set a date certain" approach to releasing
funds will gain traction.
ROBERTS

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