After a protracted intrigue between the National Assembly and the Presidency, President Muhammadu Buhari finally signed Nigeria’s N6.06trn 2016 budget on Friday, May 6, 2016 into law. The figures show that N351bn is for statutory transfers, N1.4trn for debt service, N2.6trn for recurrent expenditure, and N1.5trn as capital expenditure.
=To many Nigerians, signing 2016 budget in May, close to the middle of the year did not give room for much cheer; but for several others, especially contractors and those doing big businesses with government, it is the much relief needed by the crawling economy buffeted by drastic cut in electricity supply nationwide with less visible signs of improvement, fuel scarcity and queues at the filling stations across the country, non-payment of salaries to civil servants, especially at the state level, acute cash liquidity in the system, high rate of inflation which affected virtually all goods and services acro0ss board in the markets, among several other factors.
But is the signing of the budget new in Nigeria? The most important factor in annual budget of Nigeria is the question of implementation. Will the budget be implemented to the letter? The last budget was not implemented because it was a transition budget that was surrounded by thorny economic issues.
For instance, there was the issue of lack of fund to finance the budget; most states of the federation were so broke after the general election that they had no money to pay salaries of state workers despite the bailout loan dished out to state governors by the federal government.
Whatever might have been the situation, expectations of Nigerians are quite high. What do they think about the budget?
According to Austin Aguzie, what the president needs is the collective prayers of Nigerians to enable him succeed. “God bless President Buhari and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My prayer is that Jehovah should give him the good health and wisdom to carry us all along. Amen”, he prayed.
For Sa’eed Lamba Alhamdulillah, it is gladdening that the budget has finally been signed after a long season of controversies. “I’m so happy that this budget has finally been signed into law by our president. May Allah bring happiness to all Nigerians through this budget”.
However, there are scepticisms by some other Nigerians over the signing of the budget. To some persons, the signing of the budget does not equal to automatic solutions to all Nigeria’s socio-economic problems, either as inherited by or inherent in the present administration.
According to David Fortune Baba, “there is no need making mouth about it as if after signing the budget, all the ills of the economy will become normal at once. We should be watching (how this government goes about implementing this budget). If things still remain the same, I will personally go to Aso Rock and challenge President Buhari on account of his numerous electoral promises to Nigerians.
For Arinze Nnamdi, it is a mixture of optimism and pessimism. “Jesus is Lord that at last, the budget has been signed! The special budget is here! We pray that it’ll affect the life of Nigerians positively. Unlike the ministerial list that we waited and waited and waited for and when it finally came, it was useless. We pray that this time around there will be something different at the point of implementation”, he said.
Peters Etametite, “We should be careful in our excitement because the whistle has been blown, the game is on now for next twelve months. It is now up to the president and his ministers to prove their abilities or their disabilities. In terms of budget implementation, Nigerians are watching and waiting. May God continue to help you PMB to succeed in Jesus name. Amen”.
In a similar vein, Timi Greg observed that he is not quite sure about the way and manner the present administration is going about administering this country. “That’s how we waited for the appointment of ministers with hopes that Nigeria would be contesting with America in term of qualitative and pure characters only to be disappointed when the names of the so-called were announced.
“But up till now, nothing has positively changed with the appointment of the ministers. I hope the budget will not be as useless as the ministerial appointments? It’s better to share the money amongst each family in the entire federation let everybody take care of himself”, he said.
Yusuf Ojenya said that “PMB is a different man and God will give him the wisdom to handle this country with different views and ideologies. The ministers are not the problem of Buhari; but the major threat to his government is our lawmakers that are not cooperating with the executive arms of government. Let’s pray that the implementation of the budget will positively impact on our economy”.
Ishaku Ajeje is of the view that “As a Christian, I have only been thought to pray to everyone, including my enemy. I believe my leader would never be my enemy. He is doing everything for the Good of Nigeria and Nigerians. As I prayed to God during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan asking God to give him wisdom and understanding, so I will pray for every Nigerian president, including Buhari and the next president. God bless Nigeria”.

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