Niger Delta: Revenue Profile Of 2016 Budget Cannot Be Met – Dawaki | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Niger Delta: Revenue Profile Of 2016 Budget Cannot Be Met – Dawaki

Posted: Sep 19, 2016 at 5:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


* ‘Nothing Like Budget Padding In Our Legislative Language’


Mustapha Bala Dawaki, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Federal House of Representatives in an encounter with Sylvester Enoghase at the recent Retreat organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) and Bill Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with Committee on Appropriation in Accra, Ghana, spoke on how Section 81, 82, 83 and 84  in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 1999, gave National Assembly the powers and privileges to change, insert and remove, or completely change any Budget appropriation documents presented to it by the Executive, before re- presenting it back to the president.



Sir, as the chairman of the house committee on appropriation, you led the delegation of your members to Ghana to deliberate on issues that have to do with budget on health sector which is very important. Sir, could you please recap the importance of today’s deliberation as regards to the health sector in Nigeria?

Thank you very much.  My name is Honourable Mustapha Bala Dawaki. I am from Kano state, and I am privileged to chair the House committee on appropriation in the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Actually, it is a partnership arrangement with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, CISLAC, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and in collaboration with them, they suggested that we should have a capacity building in relation to appropriation on 1% health care Bill Act that money should be set aside from the consolidated Revenue Fund to finance health sector.

So we decided to, initially the programme was supposed to have taken place in Nigeria,  but I suggested that we should be outside Nigeria, so   that we could have full concentration of members and as God would have it,  you can witness the participation, contribution and the concentration of Members.

It was a very knowledgeable engagement because the representative of the minister of health attended the retreat, the Director General, Budgets, the minister of budget and national planning were all here to deliver a position papers.

So, all that has been said in the retreat is towards the financing of the primary health care services in Nigeria, because health care is the basic thing that any serious country need to address. In the course of our discussions we discovered so many lapses, so many inadequacies in relation to the health care delivery services especially in relation to funding. There are so many issues that were raised on the issue of disease control such as malaria, lassa fever, polio that has resurfaced in the North East and IDP camp.

Can you please, throw light on your resolve to address the inadequacies in relation to the health care delivery services in the country?

On the way forward, we are looking at how we could finance this health care delivery services. There were so many suggestions over the health care Bill Act which actually set aside 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The total amount that could be raised through that 1% of all the money that has been generated was about N35billion which was also inadequate as the Director General budget has mentioned in his presentation. And so, there were some suggestions whether the   health Act should be amended so that more than 1% can be allocated to the health care services.

However, the issue of the amendment of the Act has to come from the Executive arm of the government as Executive Bill and it will pass all the necessary processes and procedures of amendments in the National Assembly.

And the counter funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which because we are not actually providing such funds for primary health services, so many money were accumulated because the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation provided funds for such, but you have to also provide a counter fund in which case for any $1 you provide, you get a margin of $4 from Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation.

And so, most of these are actually the issue of procurement of vaccines to take care of all these diseases that we found in our country. As I mentioned earlier, there is the issue of lassa fever, polio, and malaria. There are also issues of so many tropical diseases that can easily attack children and people around the area.

And so,  we succeeded in having different propositions from the contributions of the presentation of the representative of the minister of health, the DG budget and Dr. Mandara   also presented position paper and almost all the members contributed, and we debated on so many issues to ensure that this funding is actually been giving a priority in 2017 budget appropriation.

Our contributions and resolutions is one of the main reasons why the House Committee on Appropriation was invited to actually be part of the capacity building, and also the Committee on health institution and health care services were in attendance.

What is your take home from this retreat?

My take home is that so many things we didn’t even know we were able to know because there are many information that we don’t know and the point of knowledge we were able to benefit from them because the financing of health care services in our country is very important. And it is very necessary for us to militate against the spread of all the diseases across the country.

For instance, I said earlier that polio that we had already eradicated has resurfaced, lassa fever also surfaced, malaria is also there for a long time because statistics has shown that out of every 10 people that visit our hospitals, seven of them are malaria cases.

The retreat has given us much information for us to be able to provide funds to ensure that vaccine are procured, and certain preventive measures are taken so that all these diseases should not be spread beyond how it has spread now.

Another issue that we’ve discussed about is the amendment of the Act itself to accommodate so many issues that were presented during the retreat in which we agreed to collaborate with the Minister of Health and Minister of Budget and National Planning, and the Director General budgets. Three committees; the Committee on Appropriation, Committee on Health Care Services and Committee on Health Institutions, so that we can actually come up with the position to work on the same page with them, and we believe that the counter funding that we are getting from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will also assist in moving forward the primary health care services. I believe that their fund is ready, they are just waiting for us to match, to pay that $180 million which is their amount to our N60 billion.

And so, we suggest that the amount should be separated into two so that we can make provision in the 2017 budget for N30 billion that is $90 million, and then in 2018 budget we also make another $90 million, but this one could not be achieved without engaging the ministry.

We urge the Ministry of health to put this into account and also present it to the president for ratification, because this is health care delivery services in Nigeria.

Do not forget that so many African countries have addressed the issues of malaria, polio, and lassa fever, but in Nigeria, we are yet to address these cases, rather, we are still on it.

I think by the time we get back to Nigeria, we are going to meet to proffer ways we can provide funds to finance the eradication of these diseases in the Appropriation of 2017 budget.

I believe the House is ready to do it and the Executive is ready to do something that would benefit Nigerians, especially when it comes to prevention and control of diseases by getting the right drugs to the people that are affected by these diseases.

One thing that is important that we have discovered is for allowing the spread of the diseases, and now, what we are going to spend now is $5 more than  what we could have spent when preventing it.  It is unfortunate that we can spend $1 in preventing it and when the disease affects people, we will spend $5 to curing it.

I think one thing we should not allow to happen in the country is for the diseases to spread, because if it happen, we are going to spend more to cure the disease than to preventing it, and that is why we are advocating for the provision of fund to prevent it than spending more fund to curing the diseases.


Apart from waiting for donor agencies to provide fund to prevent diseases in the country, as the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, we are in September, and in the 2016 budget, there was budget meant for the health sector, and with the current economic challenges, especially now that we are in recession, is the budget realisable?


When we talk of budget, we are talking about projection of revenue and expenditure for the financial year and the indices, or the various assumptions used to realise the revenues are also explicitly stated in the budget, and by the time we look at the indices, for instance, there are five items normally projected which are; the crude oil production, foreign exchange-Naira to Dollar, the bench mark  price of the crude oil, the issue of economic growth and the projects of the non-oil revenues side. All these indices are put into considerations, and when a critical look is taken at the budget projections and the expenditure profile, then we are going to apply what we have realised.

In the 2016 budget, the projection on crude oil was 2.2 million barrel per day and the bench mark was $47 per barrel, and there was the time the price of crude oil went down below the bench mark, and also as at today the crude oil production is 1.6 million barrel per day and as a result, there is a short fall of the crude oil production as well as the bench mark price for the crude oil.

In fact, we had a meeting recently with the petroleum minister, and he told us that the crude oil production is below 1.1million per day. And so, when you take a look at the projections, we are already losing 1.1million crude oil per day at about $30 to $38 per barrel, and that is a lot of money, and even if it is one million barrel per day we are losing, and by the time you add up the losses of say $30 on a barrel per day, we are talking of $300 million per day, and when you multiply by 10 days, you are talking of billions of dollars in loses.

You can now see that based on the projections, the expenditures profile cannot be realisable because of the nose-diving of the crude oil productions as a result of the Niger Delta bombing of pipelines as well as causing problems in the zone.

As far as I am concerned, the revenue profile of the 2016 budget cannot be realised as budgeted, and as a result most of the projects in the budget cannot be funded as budgeted, or even if the projects are going to be funded, the funding will not be 100 per cent. While some of the projects will be funded 50 per cent, some will not be funded at all.

I am aware that the Federal Government has taken a decision that because of the fall in the revenue profile, the proposed projects in the 2016 budget will be prioritised by taken into considerations the critical projects that will be financed. These are based on project based, and not on MDAs. I think what the Federal Government is presently doing is that if, for instance, N200bn is available, the critical sectors of the economy will be giving 10% of the capital appropriation pending on coming of funds before other allocations would be made as more funds are realised.

I commend this Government for the wisdom to ensure that capital projects and other projects are not put to a halt as a result of the inability to realise the projections in the 2016 budget. This is because, if for instance, 20% of revenue is given to Ministry of Works and Housing, the fund will not be enough for contractors to go back to site, and so, what I learnt the Federal Government is doing now is that Ministries and Departments prioritise their projects for funding, and the Ministry of Finance will fund the projects base on the availability of funds.

Sir, in recent times, the issue of controversial budget padding came to the front burner. As the Chairman of House Committee on Budget in the House of Representatives, is there anything like budget padding, and if it is, what are the issues meant for budget padding?

Thank you very much. I have in the past tried to avoid this question in my engagement with other journalist, but now, I feel that I can answer it for the general public to know that there is nothing like budget padding in our Legislative language. When you go to Section 81, 82, 83 and 84 in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 1999, the powers and privileges conferred on the Legislators are there by the Constitution.

The Constitution is very clear that no kobo would be spent by the Executive without been approve by the Legislature. And so, in that case, it is very clear that budget is a proposal, an estimate from the Executive arm of Government.

Do not forget that in the Constitution, there is separation of power between the Legislators, the Executive and the Judiciary, and as a result, the Legislature is an independent arm from the Executive, but I still believe that we are interdependent.

And so, when the budget proposal comes from the Executive arm of Government, it is no longer their document, rather it becomes our document, and the President will come in person to present it to the joint sittings of the two Chambers, and as soon as he presents the document, it becomes the property of the National Assembly.

The Constitution has given us the power to amend, to remove completely, or even change the entire budget as presented by the Executive because we represent the people and know what our people wanted and needed. It is for the sake of cooperation and harmony and collaboration with the Executive arm of government, that we feel that we should be working together to work in the same page to ensure peace and harmony in the country.

The Executive arm of Government may want to attract some projects to their states and local Government, and so also the Legislative arm will want to attract some projects to their states and local Government, because we are elected by the people, and we knows what our people need. And so, the issue of budget padding does not arise because the Constitution has given us the power to change, to insert and to remove, or completely change the documents presented to us by the Executive and present it back to the president, and if the president is not happy with it, the NASS has the power to veto it, but for the sake of peace and benefit of Nigerians that elected us, we have to ensure that there is no controversy between us and the Executive arm of Government.

Sir, the Federal Government in 2001 went into agreement with other African Heads of state and Government that 15% of their annual budgets would be allocated to the health sector, and to date, there is nothing like that in successive budgets. Why is it that Federal Government is good at signing into international declarations and conventions and not implementing the agreements to the letter?

The Committee on appropriation has nothing to do with that because I cannot talk on behalf of the executive arm of Government. I do not know when they enter into the agreement, and so the Executive arm of Government is in a better position to answer the question.

I asked the question because NASS in the course of carrying out their oversight functions in the past need to query the Executive arm of government on some projects in the budget not executed. Is NASS not still involved in their oversight functions?

Yes, we are still involved in our oversight function, but when the projections in the revenues as I have explained earlier fall short of the expectations, for instance, the revenue is not enough for the contractors to move to site, what oversight functions can the NASS do? If for instance, there is a project of N1bn and only N50 million is available, and for any project to be executed, due process must be followed in line with laid down procedure. And if there is no more money to make the 50% of the project, the ministry involved will return the money back to the treasury. You can see that in some cases, it is not the fault of the MDAs, because there are some percentage of funds that ought to be made available to the contractors before the projects can commence, and in some cases, the MDAs involved may be having some liabilities to be paid to the contractors on past executed projects.

We are going to sought all these challenges out in the 2017 budget.