…threatens zero capital budget to defaulting agencies
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday, disclosed that the country was losing a whopping sum of about N40 trillion annually to non-remittances by government agencies, which used to remit about N400 billion.
Saraki made this disclosure in his speech, which he read when President Muhammadu Buhari came to lay the 2018 budget before a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
He stated that though there was need to review some of the nation’s extant laws, it was imperative for the executive arm to make deliberate and determined efforts to plug routes of revenue leakages.
He said: “While there is a need to review extant laws guiding the operation of some government enterprises, I would urge for more determined effort on the part of the Executive, to plug leakages.
“This sector alone accounts for over N40 trillion in valuation, of which less than N400 billion is remitted as revenue to the Consolidated Federation Account. This is not acceptable. We need to vigorously address this area.”
The President of the Senate also threatened that the National Assembly would give zero capital allocations to parastatals that failed to submit their 2018 budget alongside the 2018 national budget of the federation.
He cautioned the agencies that did not submit their budget proposals to the national budget to immediately do so, to enable the National Assembly pass all the fiscal proposals of the country and the component establishments before the end of December, 2017.
According to him, parastatals and agencies of government are supposed to submit their budgets together with the 2018 budget of the federation as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), but regretted that the agencies did not comply with the provisions of the law.
“The budgets of parastatals and agencies are meant to be submitted with this budget presentation, as stipulated by the constitution. We must work to ensure that these are passed by the end of the year, and sanction those parastatals and agencies that fail to submit their budget along with the 2018 budget, and deny access to capital expenditure unless budget is passed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saraki has cautioned on the need for the Executive and the National Assembly to work together while the 2018 budget was being considered by the apex parliament, saying that the early passage of the budget and other Executive bills would depend largely on the relationship between the two arms.
He said: “I would like to advise and caution that there is no better time in this administration than now for a rigorous drive for good working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature. The early passage of the 2018 budget will depend on this good working relationship.
“The passage of important Executive bills that improve ‘ease of doing business’ is also dependent on this. So, Mr. President, the 469 members in this chamber are your true partners that will ensure the success of your administration in achieving its goals and objectives. So, lobby them (not the PDP way), close ranks and let them work for you.
“Let me assure Mr. President that, in considering the 2018 Budget proposal, the National Assembly will work with your team, as we are convinced that more can be achieved together.”