2015 Budget Probe: Perm Sec’s Absence Stall Reps Cmttee. | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2015 Budget Probe: Perm Sec’s Absence Stall Reps Cmttee.

Posted: Sep 11, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Rotimi Akinwumi,


The scheduled public hearing into the non-implementation of Capital budget contained in the 2015 Appropriation Act, by the House of Representatives was stalled yesterday as the members of the Ad-hoc committees tasked with the job were forced to adjourn sitting because of the absence of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Anastasia Nwobia.

The Permanent Secretary was said to be on President Buhari’s delegation to receive visiting Togolese President in Abuja Thursday.

Directors from the Ministry and officials of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Budget Office, Debt Management Office, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, National Planning Commission, and the Revenue Mobilisation,  Allocation and Fiscal Commission, were however present.

The Adhoc Committee members led by Hon. Aliyu Pategi (Kwara APC) expressed displeasure at the inability of Nwobia to appear in spite of the fact that the hearing had been postponed from August 27, 2015 to accommodate her schedule.

Pategi expressed worry on behalf of the House of Representatives at the non-implementation of the N556 billion Capital budgets, adding that such development slows down the economy.

Officials of the Revenue Mobilisation,  Allocation and Fiscal Commission, at the commencement of the committee meeting tried to exonerate themselves from the issues the committee wanted to look into, saying the commission wasn’t in anyway involved in the implementation of the budget, but mere revenue sharing.

However, the committee members after a series of exchange with the commission officials, with arguments tied to the enabling Acts of the commission which specified it’s duties, the members of the committees were able to prove that the commission has a lot to contribute in making the probe a successful one.

However, members of the committee did not hide their displeasure over the said low implementation of the 2015 budget especially the capital projects, with members complaining about the effects of such on the nation’s general economy.

Pategi, Chairman of the committee in his comments said “If you do not implement capital section of the budget, the economy will not grow. For example, if a contractor is not paid, how will he pay his staff?

“We just heard that Zenith bank laid off 1000 workers. Or is it that we don’t have money? Is the country broke?,” he said.

“Whatever figures you give us, we will cross check with the Accountant General of the Federation. Transparency is the watchdog of this administration…The Appropriation Act is important to the lives of the citizens. If it is not implemented, should we just sit down and not ask why not?,” Pategi said in his argument with the RMAFC officials.

Hon. Oluwole Oke (Osun APC) however noted that all the agencies present did not submit the correct documents they were requested to bring, as they submitted their agencies’ personal allocation and expenditure documents, instead of documents relating to the national budget.

The hearing was adjourned to Tuesday next week where the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele is expected to make an appearance.