Shoddy budget defence will attract sanctions, Akpabio warns MDAs
• Financial expert faults FG’s bid to borrow $8b for state projects
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday, charged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to cooperate with committees of the Senate in the quest to pass the 2024 budget before the end of December 2023.
He said Senate would not tolerate lackadaisical attitude from any MDA, particularly when appearing before relevant committees to defend budgetary allocations.
Poor interface between committees of the National Assembly and heads of MDAs have caused recurrent face off during processing of national budgets.
Akpabio spoke at the National Assembly, yesterday, while opening a retreat organised by Senate Appropriation Committee to sensitise stakeholders on processing of the N27.5trillion budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year.
He said: “Let me state clearly that the National Assembly will not tolerate lackadaisical attitude from government functionaries in all MDAs, in relation to issues surrounding their defence of submissions and our resolve to maintain the January-December budget cycle.” He warned: “The consequences may not be palatable for the officials or the agency in the eventual passage of the 2024 Appropriation Bill.”
The Senate President charged stakeholders to “be open-minded, honest and factual in deliberations. We have to understand that we have a common goal, which is to drastically improve the socio-economic condition of our people in the shortest period with the budget of Renewed Hope”.
Akpabio described opening up the 2024 budget process for stakeholders’ engagement and feedback through the one-day retreat as a key element in democracy, especially when it concerns a vital issue like allocation of national resources.
He added: “The proper use of the national budget is critical to the economic development of any country, and it is even more so for a nation like ours, where our economy needs urgent stimulation to address myriad of challenges.”
This came as a financial expert and analyst, Michael Diongoli, questioned rationale behind Federal Government’s move to borrow over $8 billion dollars to execute projects across states.
With N86 trillion in outstanding loans yet to be paid, Diongoli warned that the debt profile of the country is already alarming, adding that borrowing more money would plunge the country into avoidable hardship.
Diongoli, who spoke with newsmen, said the only way out of the impending financial quagmire is to move from a consuming nation to a producing nation with adequate tax considerations.
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