The Senate on Thursday adopted the report of its Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance on the implementation of the 2017 Appropriation Act.
Recommendations of the committee:
- The Federal Government must not roll over 60 per cent of capital projects in the 2017 budget, if Nigeria would have a January to December budget cycle in 2018.
- The executive must not be selective in the implementation of projects.
- “The Executive claimed it is awaiting the resolution of the National Assembly on external borrowing to enable them borrow externally to finance part of the capital component of the budget. This is because external debts have
longer tenures and lower interest rate.”
The lawmakers however stepped down the first recommendation in the report, which read, “The committee wishes to recommend that the issue of external borrowing be resolved with the executive without further delay.”
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, stated there was no pending request for external borrowing with the chamber.
He said, “Let me also clarify this because I was involved by the Chairman of Appropriations; that when the Minister of Finance came, she suggested that there were some requests before us on external borrowing.
“I just want to make it clear that there is no request on external borrowing that has not been acted upon. It must be that the letters have not left the Executive to come to us.
“I think it is important that we don’t delay such an important issue. If you remember, at the end of last session – on the last day, we treated requests from the states and those on the railways.
“There are no pending requests from Mr. President or, when he was away, from the Acting President on external loan.”
Others read, “Much as there is the need to work with the Executive to return to a predictable January-December budget cycle, this should be done without sacrificing up to 60 per cent of a full year capital budget in one full-swoop.
“The 2018 budget proposal (should) be passed expeditiously when brought to the National Assembly to allow for full implementation.
“We encourage the Executive to ensure that all MDAs are properly captured in IPPIS and all employments are properly approved and budgeted for.
“The use of operating surplus of Internally Generated Revenue of government-owned enterprises like the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Ports Authority and others in funding the national budget should be properly explored.”