By Titilope Fadare
OrderPaperToday– The Nigerian Senate has disagreed with the Executive on selective implementation of the 2017 budget under the guise of completing priority projects.
The stance of the Senate is sequel to the meeting of its joint committee on Finance and Appropriation with the Ministers of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma Udo, on Tuesday.
Presenting the report of the joint committee on the floor of the red chamber on Thursday, the chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe) outlined the recommendations as follows: “Necessary steps should be taken ensure executive does not embark of selective implementation under the guise of completing property projects because this would offend the spirit of appropriation act.
“Much that there is need to work with executive to return to a predictable January to December budget cycle goal this should be done without sacrificing up to 60 percent of full year capital budget in one scope.
“That 2018 budget proposal be passed expeditiously by when brought to national assembly to allow for full implementation.
“That we encourage executive to ensure that all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) properly captured in the IPs and all employments are properly approved.
“The use of operation surplus of internally generated revenue of government owned enterprises like CBN, Nigerian maritime and others should be properly explored.
“The executive should ensure that they block all leakages of operational surpluses of the MDAs.
“The executive should look into the shortfall of personnel cost of some agencies which arises from either error in budget or un approved development of staff and ensure that there is no proper synergy between parastatals and agencies with independent budgetary and approvals and supervisory ministries.
Based on these recommendations, Senators took turn to make their observations.
Speaking on unapproved employment of some staff of MDAs, the majority leader of the senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan(APC, Yobe) suggested that “the senate committee of establishment matter should look into that. If agencies are involved in this then there is no way we can budget for all the people in service.
“Unapproved employment would remain unavailable to us and there would always be shortfall. We want to know which organizations have employed who.
“I also believe that we should be looking at what it takes to achieve the IPs through the committee on finance and we must insist on ascertain time frame. This is where serious leakages happen like ghost workers.
Lawan further disagreed with the executive posture that only 40% capital votes can be implemented in 2017 and a total of 60% would be rolled over to 2018 budget.
He said further: “We can perform more than 40 percent by December we must meet with the executive and work on how we can meet up to achieve more than 40 percent.”
Addressing selective implementation of projects by executive, Deputy minority leader of the senate, Sen Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba) said: “Let me sound a word of caution to those selecting certain projects who get in to slide the economy into recession. As long as there is no circulation of capital in the economy, there is always an effect.
“Let it not be that there is an individual that has a particular interest in a specific economy which should not be. It is also in the interest of the executive to meet up with 50 percent even if it is virement.”
According to the Bwacha: “The senate would require an addendum to ensure the expeditious passage of 2018 budget and that would depend on the extent of the implementation of the 2017. There should be an attachment.”