NASS Will Monitor Govt On Budget Implementation, Rep Says

  • Yet to transmit 2017 budget to Presidency

The National Assembly will strictly monitor Government implementation of the 2017 budget, a member of the House of Representatives, Kehinde Odeneye has assured.

Mr Odeneye, representing Ijebu Central Federal Constituency in Ogun on the platform of APC, who ruled out “padding’’ in the budget gave the assurance, pointing out that the N7.28 trillion budget would not only be monitored, the law makers would also scrutinize the release of funds and it’s spending to the letter, once it is assented to by the President.

“We have done our own bit and part of the job as lawmakers saddled with the responsibility of approving the nation’s budget and also ensuring national spread.

“After passing the budget and it is assented to by the President, we will monitor its implementation by ensuring that money is released and projects executed,’’ he told newsmen at Ijebu Ode, stressing a need for synergy between the executive and legislative arms, for a successful budget implementation regime.

The lawmaker said he was sponsoring a bill to amend the Education Tax Act of 2004 for an upward review of the penalties for non-compliance with the Act.

“The bill has been submitted but not yet listed,’’ said Odeneye, a chartered accountant and House Committee member on Public Accounts.

On pressure from the electorate, he appealed to the people not to demand or collect money from politicians to vote them into office.

Describing demands for money from elected public officers as corruption, Odeneye said: “I appeal to the electorate not to demand money from politicians for voting them into office.

“If you do not collect money from them and they do not perform, you can curse them. But if you have collected money, the curse will have no effect,’’ he said on the sidelines of his skills acquisition and empowerment programme for another batch of 447 youths and women.

Gov. Ibikunle Amosun  and Odeneye gave out the items at the event held at Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode.

In his speech, Amosun said the empowerment programme complemented his administration’s effort at creating more jobs and alleviating poverty.

“It is giving back to the society; creating jobs will ensure wealth creation.

“I commend the effective representation of Odeneye of the Ijebu people in the National Assembly,’’ said Amosun, who was represented by the Speaker, State House of Assembly, Mr Suraj Adekumbi.
The National Assembly had on May 11 passed the 2017 Appropriations Bill, raising the budget from N7.28 trillion earlier proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari in December last year, to N7.44 trillion.

The Appropriations Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives separately presented their harmonised reports of the budget for consideration and subsequent passage on Thursday.

According to the report, N434.4 billion was appropriated for statutory transfers to the National Judicial Council (N100 billion); Niger Delta Development Commission (N64.02 billion); Universal Basic Education (N95.2 billion); National Assembly (N125 billion); Public Complaints Commission (N4 billion); INEC (N45 billion); and National Human Rights Commission (N1.2 billion).

In the meantime, the National Assembly has yet to officially transmit a copy of the 2017 budget it passed last week to the executive and the Economic Management Team (EMT) presided over by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to facilitate appropriations of funds for its implementation.

This was as the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, hinted the EMT was already looking at the funding options available to government to enable it commence immediate implementation as soon as it receives a copy of the budget.

He said a smaller committee has been constituted in the EMT to look at the issue of funding. “The EMT discussed the funding of the budget so that we can hit the ground running, once we receive the budget formally and it is signed into law. That was what was discussed in relation to the budget, revenues, loans, among others.

“There are basically ongoing discussions. There is a smaller group in the EMT that is responsible for the funding and it is just an ongoing discussion,” he said.

Other members of the EMT are the Ministers of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, alongside the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Directors General of the Budget Office, Debt Management Office (DMO) and other relevant agencies.

The National Assembly last week Thursday passed the 2017 Budget of Change and Recovery, raising it from an initial N7.28 trillion submitted by President Muhammed Buhari  to N7.44 trillion.

The sources for the funding for the 2017 budget will, according to the budget document, come from oil revenue, which is expected to rake in N1.985 trillion, while non-oil revenue will bring in about N1.73 trillion.

The Federal Government had also disclosed last year, that Nigeria will borrow more from foreign sources than locally to fund this year’s budget in a bid to benefit from lower interest rates and reduce pressure on its interest bill.

Apart from raising funds locally to finance the budget, the Federal Government also plans to borrow about N2.32 trillion overseas.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last December, while submitting the budget, stated that the budget would pull the country out of recession by spending 30.7 per cent on capital expenditure.

Additional report from The Citizen