Failure to link policies, plans, Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) and budgets has been identified as a major factor that leads to deficient planning and poor budgeting outcomes in many developing countries.
Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo udoma, who disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, pointed out that countries with fragmented planning process which does not align with the annual budgeting process usually experience difficulty in implementing clear and consistent national policies.
Acknowledging that this has been the case with Nigeria over the years the Minister, who was speaking at a sensitization workshop on MTSS (2017-2019) organized by his Ministry for Federal Permanent Secretaries and Head of Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), said it was necessary to bring them up to speed with the process of developing the MTSS as well as its relevance to the budget preparation process.
Referring to the theme of the workshop “addressing the approach to developing the medium-term sector strategies and plans”, the Minister said it is coming at a time the country was experiencing dwindling revenues occasioned by the declining price of crude oil in the international market and other disruptive developments in the polity.
He however emphasized the Buhari Administration’s commitment to strengthening the linkage between plans and budgets to ensure better implementation of projects and programmes. “We are also committed to fostering inclusive development which explains the unprecedented allocation of N500 billion Naira (half a trillion Naira) to social investment projects in the 2016 Budget of Change”, he added.
The current MTSS exercise, he pointed out, will be limited to selected critical sectors to support the preparation of the 2017 Budget. “It is planned to roll out the MTSS process to all sectors/MDAs from 2017 and beyond. This is aimed at guiding MDAs for more efficient and effective investment of national resources in critical sectors of the economy, in line with the Change Agenda.”
Just as the MTSS (2017-2019) of the selected MDAs will serve as basis for their 2017 Budget proposals, it will also serve as credible input into the development of the 2017-2020 MTDP currently being developed under the coordination of the Budget and National Planning Ministry. This is aimed at improving the linkage between the spending of the Federal Government MDAs and the goals of MTDP (2017 -2020) and the SDGs.
The Minister said Nigeria has not been doing well in ensuring that budget outcomes achieve planned targets as most of the MDAs have also not been developing their MTSS and adopting it as a basis for budget formulation for several years.
This development, according to him, informed Government’s decision to reintroduce the MTSS, the first of which will cover Fiscal Year 2017-2019. This, he added, is expected to compliment other strategies of Government in fast-tracking the development process in the country.
Explaining that the MTSS links sector/MDA strategic objectives to over-arching national development goals, being a key component of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) process, Senator Udoma said it will compliment the implementation of the zero-base budgeting (ZBB) system by ensuring that projects and programmes in the annual budgets align with mandates of MDAs and linked to Government policy thrusts and strategic objective of improving service delivery to the people.
The key steps in developing the MTSS entail:
a) Clearly articulating medium-term (three years) goals and objectives against the background of the overall goals of Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) (2017 -2020) and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
b) Identifying appropriate policies to ensure that projects and programmes achieved their desired objectives;
c) Identify initiatives, projects and programmes that will contribute to the achievement of the stated sector goals;
d) Defining the expected outcomes of the identified initiatives in clear measurable terms;
e) Costing the identified key initiatives projects and programmes in a clear and transparent manner;
f) Phasing implementation of the identified initiatives over the medium-term;
g) Linking expected outcomes to their objectives and goals; and
h) Defining the M&E framework, including the KPIs for the sector.
Acknowledging that the MDAs will require technical advice and support to effectively accomplish the exercise, the Minister assured that his Ministry, leveraging on the assistance of DFID, will provide technical support and sector expertise for building of capacity during the MTSS preparation process.
Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary in the Budget and National Planning Ministry, Mrs Nana Mede, while welcoming participants to the workshop said the exercise signaled the flag-off of the MTSS/2017 Budget planning process.
She said the workshop was to sensitize participants on the importance of the MTSS to the budgeting process and to avail them of the technical knowledge and expertise that would boost their understanding of the process and technical requirements for developing a credible MTSS for their respective MDAs.