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Reps reject N300b likely unspent fund executive proposal

Posted by From Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja on 2008/12/12 | Views: 1616 |

Reps reject N300b likely unspent fund executive proposal

The House of Representatives yesterday rejected the over N300 billion the Executive projected as likely unspent funds from the 2008 budget.

The House of Representatives yesterday rejected the over N300 billion the Executive projected as likely unspent funds from the 2008 budget.
It said the figure was below expectation.

The amount is supposed to be part of the non-oil items to be used in financing the N1.09 trillion deficit in the 2009 budget Appropriation Bill.

The House also insisted that the clause that gives the National Assembly the right to monitor the level of releases and budgetary implementation by the Executive should be retained in the Appropriation Bill.

They also expressed the fears that the though the National Assembly desires to pass the budget before Christmas, the Executive may delay the budget consideration till next year.

Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. John Enoh, told reporters yesterday in Abuja that the figure quoted for unspent funds was far below what it should be.

According to the lawmaker, if over N450 billion could be discovered as unspent funds for 2007 budget, it will reasonable to expect a higher figure for 2008.

Enoh said: "They have only captured N300 billion. Let’s look at the components of the supplementary budget that have not been spent. What are the closing balances of the projected funds?"

He said this was an important point if viewed against the level of implementation of the 2008 budget, which has been put as below 40 percent.

He said the Executive as at December 2007 said it had only N2 5billion as unspent funds in the 2008 budget proposal.

"In January it became N217 billion. By the middle of 2008, it climbed to N450 billion," he added.

President Umaru Yar’Adua while presenting the 2009 budget proposal to the National Assembly had said there had been up to 100 percent releases for the 2008 budget.

He said certain factors were responsible for the low implementation.

Enoh said the Joint Finance Committee of both chambers of the National Assembly had met with the Minister of Finance Dr. Shamsudeen Usman and the Budget Office and demanded the submission of a reviewed revenue framework,

He said: "And the speedy consideration or otherwise of the budget would depend on what the Executive comes up with.

"The leadership of the National Assembly has said we may be able to pass the budget before Christmas break, if this would be possible will depend of what we are able to find."

Enoh said the 2009 budget would "stretch the nation," adding that for the first time, there is a detailed breakdown of the budget from the Executive.

"The Joint Finance Committee is checking if it is overstated or understated," he said.

According to him, the National Assembly is looking at other areas that may be used to finance the deficit in the budget.

"We are actually beginning to look inwards," Enoh said.

He said the recently concluded investigative hearing of the Finance Committee was the first phase of the committee’s work.

According to him, the committee is coming up with a National Revenue Summit.

Enoh said a report on the summit would be submitted to the House at plenary.

He also questioned the inclusion of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Joint Venture cash call in the budget.

"The JV cash call for 2009 budget is $5 billion. It’s not a component of expenditure of national budget in other countries. But it is in Nigeria. If you take out $5 billion out of the national budget, it’s something, and it can achieve a lot," he said.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.