President Muhammadu Buhari signing the 2018 budget. Image courtesy: State House

The Nigerian Government should always publish its budgets within a reasonable period of time, as to help the nation improve its fiscal transparency, the United States Department of State has said.

Concise News understands that this suggestion is one of five proffered by the U.S Dept of State in its 2019 Fiscal Transparency Report spanning from January 1 – December 31, 2018.

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According to the report, the executive budget proposal and the enacted budget were not published within a reasonable period of time.

The report further adds that information on debt obligations was publicly available, stressing that while budget documents provided detailed estimates for revenue and expenditure, they did not include allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises.

Below are the full details of the report by the United States Department of State.

During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal, enacted budget, and end-of-year report accessible to the general public, including online.

The executive budget proposal and the enacted budget, however, were not published within a reasonable period of time. Information on debt obligations was publicly available.

Budget documents provided detailed estimates for revenue and expenditure but did not include allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation did not have fully audited financial reports that were available to the public. The government maintained off-budget accounts not subject to adequate oversight or audit.

Due to oil price fluctuations, actual revenues and expenditures varied significantly from estimated figures making budget documents unreliable.

Nigeria’s supreme audit institution completed audits of the government’s budget and reportedly made audit reports on its website.

The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction were specified in law and regulation.

The government has appeared to follow applicable laws and regulations in practice. Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available.

Nigeria’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

Publishing its executive budget proposal and enacted budget within a reasonable period of time, detailing allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises.

Improving the reliability of budget documents by producing and publishing a supplemental budget when actual revenues and expenditures do not correspond to those in the enacted budget.

Making full audit reports for significant, large state-owned enterprises publicly available.

And subjecting off-budget accounts to adequate audit and oversight and making information on such accounts publicly available.