Posted by Jacob Segun Olatunji and Kehinde Akintola, Abuja | 29 October 2019 | 321 times
The President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, unveiled the 9th National Assembly’s plan to block all leakages through which revenues accrued to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies are filtered away.
Senator Lawan who gave the assurance while delivering a keynote address at the 3rd Convocation ceremony of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS)/UNIBEN, held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, also directed all the Senate and House of Representatives’ Standing Committees to defend the 2020 budget reports of various MDAs they oversight before the Appropriation Committees between 30th October and 5th November, 2019.
The President of the Senate who affirmed that Nigeria is currently facing financial constraint, unveiled plans to engage respective revenue generating agencies with the view to reduce the burden of borrowing.
He said: “We are the course we hope that from the 30th of October to the 5th of November, we expect all our committees to defend their budget before the Appropriation Committees of both the Senate and the House.
“We are desirous and determined to ensure that the budget is laid the 28th day of November in both chambers. We want to ensure that we pass the budget before the end of December when we will go for Christmas and New Year break. So, we are determined to tow this path because it is the path to follow.
“What have we gained from a distorted and irregular budget circle? Nigerian economy depends largely on public expenditure, and until the government sends money to pay contractors, nothing moves.
“That means that we need a budget circle that start early enough. January is good enough because it provides stability and a chance for our business people to plan what they can do.
“In fact, the economy will be better when we start implementing our budget in January and finish in December.
“Going forward, we also intend to ensure that the budget we pass is implemented. Of course, we know our constraints and it will be subject to the availability of revenue.
“Today, Nigeria is challenged by the availability of revenue. We can pass the budget in record time, but when it comes to implementation, we have to be subject to how much we are able to gather.
“Nigeria has a lot of revenues, but majority of the revenue-generating agencies don’t remit most of these revenues, and have forced the government to resort to borrowing.
“I think the time has come for the National Assembly to continually engage with the revenue-generating agencies to know what their challenges are. Once they have targeted, we must ensure that they meet the target and when they are not able to meet the target, we should find out why? Is it an institutional problem or a systemic issue?
“Is there something we can do in the National Assembly to make them better or is it something that the Executive would have to do for us to get these revenues? We have so many areas of revenue generation every day and yet, we hardly see these revenues.
“I think it is a big challenge to the National Assembly, and this National Assembly will go all the way, take the bull by the horns and look for our revenue where ever they are. (Nigerian Tribune)
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