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DEVELOPMENT OF A MODEL FOR EFFECTIVE HOUSING BUDGET PERFORMANCE IN ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA

  • Project Research
  • 1-5 Chapters
  • Abstract : Available
  • Table of Content: Available
  • Reference Style: APA
  • Recommended for : Student Researchers
  • NGN 3000

 Statement of the Problem

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the housing budget of Anambra State is fraught with poor performance, arising from inefficient planning and preparations, low involvement of housing cost professionals and lack of infrastructural support for the State‘s Housing Corporation. Extra budgetary or undisciplined expenditure, weak budget monitoring and evaluation and poor implementation are other budgeting problems facing Anambra State (Amakom, 2013). There is also the issue of lopsided or skewed allocation, where housing budget ceilings and final housing budget allocations are not established on any known scientific basis or criteria. The housing budget system also suffers excessive bureaucratic bottlenecks, weak political will and political interference in passage and approval. In addition to this, the housing budgeting process in Anambra State is characterized by lack of citizen participation and inadequate needs assessment of the citizenry before allocations are made. To worsen this, Anambra State, presently, does not employ any mechanism for obtaining statistical data on housing needs to achieve long term planning. The following explanations further provide a clearer insight and understanding of the afore-highlighted problems. First, Emma (2001) maintains that a major cause of budget failure is the absence of accurate data for planning purposes; hence budget preparation needs absolute reliance on accurate data. Currently, there is paucity or unavailability of data on housing needs in Anambra State, which is urgently needed to plan long term housing development objectives. Second, housing budget preparations in Anambra State is not fully participatory, i.e. preparation of the housing budget is not done with the needs of the people in mind (people-centered), hence, the benefits of the budget to the people are not maximized. Ordinary citizens of Anambra State do not know their housing budget. It is the principal officers who do everything. This is the system that has been going on. Apart from insulating the budget process and documents from 6 public scrutiny, there are no representations from civil society, grass root or community based organizations from the planning and preparation stages, through the approval, passage and implementation stages to checkmate unethical issues. Preparations are characterized by favouritism, nepotism, settling political squabbles, personal contracts and enhancements. The masses do not make their inputs. Because the budgets are not predicated on the inputs and proper needs of the people, the projects encapsulated in the budgets are usually not of priority to the people, the costs of such projects are seen as inflated and the projects are invariably poorly implemented because they are not monitored by the people. Even when the right projects are captured in the budget, they are usually not fully implemented, due to either inadequate allocation of funds or non-release of funds. Third, enough time is often not given for the budget preparation process. A comprehensive needs assessment requires sufficient time to carry out, so that the pressing needs of the people are captured. In addition to this, anecdotal evidence reveals that the budget is usually submitted late, usually one month before the date of commencement, and therefore hurriedly considered by the State legislature, without a thorough job being done. Such delays also deny the people the benefits of early initiation, commissioning and completion of housing projects. Sequel to this, there is also no serious and effective mechanism for evaluating the efficiency of utilization of housing budget funds, monitoring and reviewing housing budget performance to ensure effective budget implementation. As a result, the people do not usually benefit fully from the intended purposes (housing projects) of the budget. The fourth problem bedeviling the Anambra State housing sector budget is that housing and construction cost professionals such as the Quantity Surveyors are not fully involved. According to Anyadike (2002a), the Quantity Surveyor‘s role in society is that of ensuring that the resources for construction and development are utilized to the best advantages of the economy. Unfortunately, Quantity Surveyors are not fully involved in the decision making process of final housing budget allocations in Anambra State. Quantity Surveyors are often sidelined or relegated to the preparation of housing development estimates, tendering and interim valuation, during the implementation (construction) stage. 7 The common practice is that at the beginning of the budget cycle each year, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning sends a budget circular to the Ministry of Housing, stipulating their budget ceiling (or limit) to be adhered to. This housing budget ceiling and the final allocation are not founded on any known scientific basis or criteria such as percentage of federal allocation or internally generated revenue, needs survey, percentage contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hence, they seem to be fixed arbitrarily annually, albeit with political influence. Thus, estimates prepared by Quantity Surveyors in the Ministry of Housing are often cut down, with the reason that such estimates must not exceed the budget ceiling because of lack of funds. The remaining budget sum is often grossly inadequate and the implication of this practice is that the initially intended housing project size or scope is reduced to avoid exceeding the budget limit. This also leads to a piece-meal release of funds annually, to execute work items of housing projects not executed in the preceding year, resulting in a slow pace of housing development. To compound this, these sums are often slashed again, during the final stages of the budget approval by the State executive council. Lastly, another setback of the Anambra State housing budget is that the allocation for infrastructural provision for the Housing Corporation which reflects annually in the published budget rarely gets into the coffers of the Corporation. Hence, the Corporation is left to ‗fend‘ for itself, while other sectors enjoy direct government support annually. The implication of this is that when the Housing Corporation is totally ignored because it is expected to make profit to ‗survive‘. The costs of such infrastructure (access roads, drainages, electricity) are built into the housing cost. This further aggravates the plight of the citizenry because unaffordability and dearth of housing facilities is increased. Given the above background, there is need for a holistic approach or framework to address the housing budget management problems identified, hence the development of a model for effective housing budget performance targeted by this research; which is geared towards improving housing delivery. 




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