Saraki
Saraki

National Assembly, yesterday finally passed the 2016 appropriation bill of N6.06 trillion. The figure is N17billion less than the N6.077trillion earlier presented before the National Assembly by President Muhammedu Buhari in December 2015.
According to the estimates, Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing received the highest allocation of N422,964,928,495 under capital expenditure; followed by Ministry of Transportation with N188,674,679,674, while the ministry of Defence was allocated N130,864,439,542. Interior is allotted N61, 713,279,496, with Agriculture getting N46, 173,963,859.
In December 2015, the budget proposal presented to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari was N6.07 trillion. A total of N351billion was for statutory transfers, N2.8 trillion for recurrent expenditure and N1. 8 trillion for capital expenditure.
The budget however came with a complaint by the Senate Committee on Appropriation about the omission of‎ some agencies’ recurrent expenditures from the estimates. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje,‎ however said the service wide votes will take care of the omission of workers’ salary in the proposal.
Goje explained that the budget has already been harmonised by both chambers before its presentation.
According to him, “The 20016 Appropriation Bill contained a number of omissions, particularly in the area of personnel costs. Though the Appropriation Committees have filled some of the gaps, there are many outstanding cases which could raise serious concern in the course of the year.”
He recommended that, “subsequent budgets should be submitted in strict compliance with the provision of the Fiscal Responsibility Act,” adding that this will enable the National Assembly conduct proper engagement to fast track conclusion of the budget processes in good time.
Goje advised for proper engagement in future between the Budget Office of the Federation and the MDAs on budget contents in order to avoid what appeared to be a disconnect between them in the processing of budget proposals, saying this will also ensure that the budget proposal between the two parties is in harmony.
Government, he said, must endeavour to increase and diversify its revenue generation streams; given the yawning gap between collectible revenues and actual collections.
From the 20l7 fiscal year, he recommended that government should endeavour to shore up capital expenditure by substantially reducing recurrent expenditure, stressing that this is the only way to free up resources for critical infrastructure towards economic growth and development.
In view of the revenue and general economic challenges confronting the nation, the Committee, he said, has in a landmark decision not witnessed since the advent of the present democratic dispensation in 1999, reduced the size of the aggregate expenditure and consequently reduced the total recurrent , deficit and borrowing plans.


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