…Blames Presidency for delay in requesting for foreign loan
By George Okorocha
The Senate yesterday at plenary blamed the poor implementation of the 2017 budget to non-remittal of internally generated revenue by Agencies and Parastatals of government to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
This was as the Upper House has denied the claims by the Federal government that it was delaying approval to President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for foreign loan to execute capital projects.
Recall that Senate on resumption of plenary on Tuesday September 28,2017 decried the performance of the budget leading to mandating its joint committee on Finance and Appropriation to meet with ministers of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on the alleged failure of the 2017 capital budget.
Briefing Senate on the report of its joint committees on Appropriation and Finance, chairman of the committee, Senator Danjuma Goje noted that the failure of the Federal government to execute the budget as appropriated by the National Assembly was blamed on lack of expected foreign borrowing and revenue leakages from revenue earning Parastatals and Agencies of government.
The committee debunked as false insinuation by the Executive arm that the delay in the execution of capital budget was based on the inability of the National Assembly to approve its request for external borrowing to enable it borrow externally to finance part of the capital component of the budget.
It also noted that there are revenue leakages of operating surpluses adding that Agencies of government were not remitting funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) for servicing the budget.
To stop further revenue leakages Senate Urged the Executive to block all leakages of operational surpluses of MDAs.
It also directed that operating surplus of internally generated revenue of government owned enterprises like Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and others in funding the National Budget should be properly explored.
The upper chamber cautioned that much as there is need to work with the Executive to return to a predictable January – December budget circle, this should be done without sacrificing up to 60% of a full year capital budget in one full-swoop.
It noted that necessary steps should be taken to ensure that the executive does not embark on selective implementation under the guise of completing priority projects because it will offend the spirit of the Appropriation Act.
The Senate also encouraged the executive to ensure that all MDAs are properly captured in IPPIS and all employments are properly approved and budgeted for.
It urged the Executive arm to ensure early presentation of the the 2018 Budget proposal to ensure that it is passed expeditiously when brought to the National Assembly to allow for full implementation.
In approving the report of the joint committee, Senators urged the Executive to endevour to implement the budget at least up to 50% since the fiscal year is nearly drawn to a close.
In his remark, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki applauded the joint committee for a job well done and urged the Executive to expedite action on the request for external borrowing for the speedy execution of the capital budget.