MDAs sabotaging Buhari’s efforts on critical infrastructure, says Lawan
Senators worry about implementation as budget scales second reading
Senate President Ahmad Lawan has alleged that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government are out to sabotage the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide critical infrastructure in the country.
The Senate President claimed the MDAs have consistently refused to appear to justify projects to be funded through the loan requests sought by Buhari.
He described their action as an act of sabotage that will not be condoned by the National Assembly. He listed the erring MDAs as Federal Ministry of Power, Ministry of Heath, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Ministry of Water Resources, and Ministry of Environment.
He, therefore, gave them a one-week deadline to appear before the Local and Foreign Debt Committee or face appropriate action.
This came as the N16.39 trillion 2022 budget proposal scaled second reading at the Senate, yesterday, with senators expressing concern over its implementation.
It followed a debate on general principles of the bill by the senators during plenary. The bill is titled “A Bill for an Act to authorise issuance from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federation, the total sum of N16.39 trillion of which N768.28 billion is for statutory transfers.”
Senators who took turns to deliberate on the bill include Abba Moro (PDP-Benue), who said government has to change its implementation strategy and budget system, so that Nigerians can benefit from yearly budget ritual.
“We must try as much as possible to block leakages in our economy, so that we can conserve funds for the development of our infrastructure. I don’t know the place of education in this budget, yet we want to enthrone a vibrant population in our country.
“Poverty is on the rise. Several programmes have been churned out by this administration in all our budgets. When the COVID-19 pandemic was on, we heard that N52 billion was spent on feeding school children when schools were supposed to be closed,” he said.
Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, said that given the current economic trend marked by low productivity and growth, government must consolidate on transportation networks. “On railway, the actual north-western corridor, Sokoto and Kebbi, has not been properly captured and there is need to look at that aspect.”
Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi) urged government to invest more funds for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
He added: “We should draw the attention of the executive to critical areas of economic development. One of it is that both monetary and fiscal policies must be interwoven to improve the well-being of the people and generate wealth for our nation.”
In his remarks, Lawan urged the lawmakers to accord the 2022 Appropriation Bill the same commitment they did the 2020 and 2021 Appropriation Acts.
“That commitment certainly saw us succeed in passing the previous bills. I’m sure we are ready to repeat the feat of passing the Appropriation Bill 2022 before the end of December,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, called for prudent utilisation of funds in the 2022 appropriation bill.
The lawmakers including Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Luke Onofiok, Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu, and Abubakar Kabir, gave the charge during a debate on general principles of the Bill. Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed that the debate would continue today.