Why 2018 budget may not be passed before January, by Senate
The Senate yesterday said that it may not be able to pass the 2018 budget before January 2018 due to the attitude of some government agencies towards providing critical insights to the appropriation document.
Briefing journalists after yesterday’s plenary, Senate Spokesman, Aliu Saabi Abdullahi, said heads of most Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) have not been co-operating with the National Assembly on budget issues.
His words: “We want to report that the Senate is disturbed by a new trend where heads or chief executives of critical institutions who should play a critical role in this budget process but choose to ignore the invitation by the Senate to appear before it for deliberation.
“Specifically, on Tuesday when we had a deliberation, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning was around. But based on the discussion we were supposed to have to look at the revenue projections, which are the basis for the MTEF, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC did not show up.
“Also, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Director General of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Director of the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) all failed to show up.”
He said the question if the national budget was important and everyone depends on the country’s resources to run their businesses, what other business could be more important than looking at this very critical assignment?
Abdullahi, who is also a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, observed that the speed needed in passing the budget could not be realised because of the attitude of most heads of the agencies.
He argued that a situation where heads of MDAs send representatives that are powerless and could not answer critical questions was not as good as the heads attending such critical sessions, adding that some of them never even sent any representative.
“It is important that we report this because, overall, the media will still come back to us asking what progress are we making and why are we slow in taking decisions.
“We are trying our best and we want to see what progress we can make but we are constrained by some of the actions of some chief executives in the Executive arm of government. Let it also be said that some people are not giving maximum cooperation to the National Assembly for us to do our job,” he added.
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