repssSerious fireworks on the lapses and discrepancies discovered in the 2016 budget have begun at the National Assembly, as the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions, yesterday, summoned the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in the Ministry of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, to appear before it to clarify issues in the 2016 budget proposal.
The committees on appropriation of the two chambers of the parliament had Tuesday this week disclosed the indefinite suspension of consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill, following what the committees observed as serious errors, making the fiscal policy document impassable, without proper corrections and adjustments.
Chairman of the Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, disclosed the decision of the committee in an interactive session with Investment and Securities Tribunal, IST at the National Assembly complex.
Yusuf revealed that the 2016 budget proposal for IST was a duplicate of the 2015 budget proposal and threatened that the National Assembly would hold the Budget Office of the Federation responsible for the various errors and lapses observed in the 2016 budget proposal.
While lamenting over the development, Yusuf called for the immediate overhauling of the budget to address the lingering challenges, adding that failure to correct the lapses might impact negatively on the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry.
According to him, “We took the budget of the IST, which is the investment court; unfortunately, we realized that what was contained in the 2016 budget proposal was just the exact copy of the 2015 budget appropriation.
“Items that have been completed in 2015 were repeated.
“Fortunately, the Senate too is aware of that and we are thinking of having a tripartite meeting between the House, Senate and Federal Ministry of Finance.
“This is to ask some basic questions why we have what we have, so that as a House, we will do what is needful.”
While giving update on the oversight functions to the IST office in Lagos, Yusuf disclosed that the committee observed some infractions in the implementation of the 2015 appropriation.
He said ISL is a special court that deals with only issues on capital market investment so as to build confidence.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, and his House of Representatives counterpart, Jibrin Abdulmumin, said recently that the budget was fraught with too many errors, which had made its passage into law impossible.
Goje noted that the Presidency had also admitted that there were errors in the budget, explaining that it would be inappropriate to give a new date now due to the errors that they would have to work on.
“We are here in connection with the ongoing processing of the 2016 budget because these two committees are the ones saddled with the production of the final copies of the budget that would be passed by the National Assembly for onward submission to Mr. President for his assent and subsequent implementation.
“We want to remove all ambiguities; we want to remove all padding. We want to produce a budget that is in line with the constitutional provision. During the budget defence, there were a lot of issues based on the padding of the budget, arising from over-bloated overheads and in some instances cases of over-bloated personnel cost.
“But generally, there have been lot of issues. The appropriation committees would look at these issues after the whole budget defence and do a very thorough work aimed at doing a proper clean-up of the budget. So in summary, the time-table for passage of the budget is no longer realistic because as appropriation committees of both chambers of the National Assembly, we need additional time to do a thorough job for the 2016 budget,” Goje stated

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