Senate tackles Adeosun over FG’s insistence to pass 2018 budget in January


…Says 2018 budget “heavily padded, inconsistent, full of errors***

The Senate on Tuesday quried the Minister of Finance kemi Adeosun, pin respect of Federal Government’s insistence on passing the 2018 Budget in January, when less than 50 per cent of the 2017 budget was only implemented.

The upper chamber also queried why the 2017 Budget had no correlation to the 2018 Budget, insisting the implementation, if passed by January, would not only truncate the visions of the 2017 budget, but also poorly harmonised, because of the nation’s large size.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. John Eno indicated this, during the budget defence of the ministry.

Eno asked to know how the ministry achieved 64 per cent budget performance in 2017 when other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were nearly scratching below 40 per cent.

Responding, Adeosun said the ministry was working to raise all the MDAs to 50 per cent performance before the end of the year.

On leakages in Federal Government earnings, she said the ministry would look into other agencies, outside the Federal Inland Revenue Service, that could augment earnings as pointed out.

“We have taken on board some of key reform initiatives. A total of N306 billion is expected from privatisation and N5 billion from sale of other government’s property to finance the deficit.“

She said oil revenue would contribute 37 per cent of the total revenue of N6.6 trillion.

Others, according to her, are recovered looted funds, 7.8 per cent; tax amnesty, 1.3 per cent; signature bonus, 1.7 per cent; joint venture equity restructuring, 10.7 per cent; grants and donors funding, three per cent and others, 5.5 per cent.

The Minister said the revenue targeted for 2017 was largely achieved, with a record of 64 per cent performance.

In the meantime, returning to plenary after a two-week break during which it reviewed the 2017 budget of the Federal Government against the proposals for 2018, the Senate yesterday returned a damning verdict of incompetence, inconsistency and ineptitude in the planning and execution of the 2017 budget.

Summing up the misgivings of the senators who spoke across party lines, Senate President Bukola Saraki expressed anger, saying that the executive arm must sit up and warning that disaster was lurking if the 2017 budget was not rolled over to 2018.

The senate also observed that the 2018 budget is “heavily padded, inconsistent, full of errors and inacurracies.” “Truly, it is very disheartening and disappointing because we know how much we have put into the budget process,” he said.

Senator Saraki noted the submissions of senators over their discoveries of poor budget implementation in 2017 and inconsistencies in the claims by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government during the budget defence sessions.

“By now, 2017 budget should have been implemented by up to between 40 and 60 per cent, but this has not been the case. This makes it very difficult for us, we cannot turn into magicians. I continue to appeal that you work within what you have and let us do our best to ensure that we have a budget that is in the interest of Nigerians.

“The executive on their part should sit up and not just make rhetoric, but get down to work. If 2017 budget items are not rolled over to 2018 that is a disaster. Let the executive show some seriousness towards the budget exercise.”

The outflow of outrage followed a point of order raised by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC, Kebbi South, who queried the submissions made by the MDAs during the budget defence sessions. According to Na’Allah, the pronouncements made by the President and his aides on the execution of the budget was not reflective in the submissions being made by heads of the MDAs.

Additional report from Vanguard