The Senate Wednesday revealed that the refusal of some officials of government to honour its invitation for the consideration of templates contained in the 2018 budget was frustrating its plan to pass the budget before the end of the year.
The Senate fingered the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, and Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, as some of those who failed to honour its invitation.
The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Director, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), were also listed to have refused to appear before its committee to provide information that would aide the Senate to pass the budget on time.
Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi raised the alarm at a news briefing, yesterday in Abuja.
Abdullahi revealed that the Senate is disturbed by a situation where heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies are invited by the Senate in relation to the 2018 budget without the government officials honouring the invitation.
He noted the joint Senate committee on Appropriation, Finance and National Planning held a meeting on Tuesday to consider the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), where some heads of key agencies were invited to throw light on the twin documents.
He said the CBN Governor, NNPC boss, Customs helsman, Director DPR and Director, National Bureau for Statistics, who were invited failed to honour the invitation.
The Senate’s spokeperson said the zeal of the Red Chamber to pass the budget before the end of the year was being constrained by the action of these key government officials.
He said some heads of agencies decided to send lowly-placed officers who cannot be held responsible for any resolution.
Insisting that it is important that the government top officials honour their invitation, Abdullahi said that dispatching lowly-placed officers to stand in for them does not help matter.
Asked whether the development would affect passage of the 2018 budget before the end of the year, Abdullahi said, “We are reporting back to the people of Nigeria the hurdle we are facing in the process of trying to meet the target. For me, I cannot give you any concrete commitment. What we are doing is to report back to the people.”
Meanwhile, the Joint Committee on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning and Economic Affairs, laid the report of 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper for consideration and adoption.
The MTEF and FSP are the plant upon which the budget estimates are built. Its adoption will pave the way for the consideration of the 2018 budget.
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