Senate May Not Pass 2018 Budget Till April – Senator
– The 2018 appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate would not passed soon
– Senator Solomon Adeola says the bill would not be passed soon because ministries and parastatals refused to do a their job thoroughly
– He also insisted that the legislators will not allow itself to be a rubber stamp for the executive
Senator Solomon Adeola, chairman, Senate House Committee on Local Content, has given reasons why the 2018 appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate would not passed.
According to the legislator who represents Lagos West at the Senate, the Upper House may not pass the budget until March or April, 2018.
Adeola, however, absolved the Senate of delaying the passage of the proposed 2018 budget.
He accused ministries and departments of refusing to submit documents necessary for passage of the bill, Vanguard reports.
Adeola said this on Wednesday, January 3 in Ilaro, at the sideline of the end-of-year get-together organised for members and chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He argued that the Senate would not allow itself to be a rubber stamp for the executive.
“Let me make some clarification on the issue of the budget. As you can see the last time, we’re trying to work round the clock to ensure that by 31st of December 2017, if possibly for the first time, in our nation’s history we can pass the budget in a record time.
“But as it were, documentation and facts and figures that we need to buttress all items of transaction both in the recurrent and capital expenditure as contained in that particular document is not given to us by these ministries and the lackadaisical attitude of the various agencies of the government, both the ministries and parastatals, is nothing to write home about.
“Because, it is when they are prepared to defend these documentation, those figures as contained in that document that we can be looking at the record time in passing this budget. Since we don’t have all these documentation and the figures to work with, it will be difficult for us as a National Assembly. We can’t be rubber stamp.
“The power of the purse is the power that resides with us as the legislature. Yes, the government has submitted their document, their proposal, their policy in numerical term called budget.
“But we have the option to look at these issues critically and analysed if the N7 or N8trillion budget as proposed by the president is achievable or not. And that can only be done if the right documentation, figures are given to us.
“The MTEF had their issues; we are able to overcome the issue of MTEF – the Medium Term Expenditure Framework which we have since passed at the National Assembly.
“But if we are going to pass 2018 budget in a record time, there is need for us to know the performance of 2017 budget. We cannot be pre-emptive. We need to look at the performance upon which we can predicate whatever we are doing with the 2018 budget upon.
“And if all these documentations are not given to us, there is little or nothing we can do as a National Assembly.
“So, we are hoping the Executive takes this seriously, then look inward and ensure that all necessary documentation that will assist the National Assembly in considering this budget before us should be forwarded to us so that we can work round the clock and give Nigeria this document in a record time maybe by March or April this year,” the senator said.
Meanwhile it had been reported that the Nigerian government denied allegation that the 2018 budget recently presented to the National Assembly by the Presidency was padded.
reports has it that the federal government said the allegations were spurious and mischievous.
A top government official who spoke on the allegations said the performance of the 2017 budget was affected by some ‘unforeseen and extraneous factors’.
The official who pleaded anonymity however did not say who caused or created the factors. The official said: “The perceived poor implementation of the 2017 budget is not as a result of lack of capacity but because of unforeseen and extraneous factors.