Senate Summons Minister Of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, And Minister Of State For Finance Yerima Ngama


The Senate yesterday invited the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama over the implementation of the 2013 budget.
They are expected to brief the lawmakers on the level of implementation of the 2013 budget, including releases made to Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The invitation followed a motion sponsored by Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) and 13 others, entitled, “2013 Budget and alleged over bloated revenue estimates.”
Ningi had on Wednesday drawn the attention of the Senate to a statement allegedly credited to Ngama that “the National Assembly over bloated the 2013 budget, thus making it unimplementable.”

Ngama had since disowned the alleged statement saying he never made such pronouncement.
Senate President, David Mark, said that Ngama wrote him denying ever saying that the National Assembly over-bloated the 2013 Budget.
In the motion, Ningi noted that the National Assembly passed the 2013 Appropriation Bill on December 20th, 2012 and was assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan on 15th February, 2013.
He said that Appropriation Act guiding the implementation of the budget, most especially clause six, states that “the Minister of Finance shall ensure that funds appropriated under this Act are released to the appropriate agencies and or organ of government as and when due, provided that no fund for any quarter of the fiscal year shall be differed without prior waiver from the National Assembly.”
He noted that the alleged utterances of Ngama were clearly targeted to blackmail the National Assembly, considering that all the revenue variables are within the target expectations.
He said that such unguarded pronouncement was capable of sending serious negative signals to Nigerians and the international community.
Some Senators who contributed to the motion cautioned that the upper chamber should not base it conclusion on newspaper reports.
Senator Bello Tukur (Adamawa Central) wondered why it took the Senate nine months to come up with a motion on the implementation of the budget.
Tukur said that the Senate needed to be given actual figure of the implementation of the budget for it to draw conclusions.
He noted that it was wrong for the Senate to use newspaper publication as its guide without thorough investigation.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) said that the two Ministers should be invited instead of inviting only Okonjo-Iweala to speak on the level of implementation of the budget.
He also cautioned against using newspaper report to draw conclusion on what Ngama was alleged to have said. Mark noted that the motion is a wake up call to committees to conduct their oversight thoroughly.
He said that the committees should know the level of implementation of the budget including the level of releases to MDAs.
Senate mandated its Committee on Finance and Appropriation to find out the level of implementation of the 2013 budget and report to the Senate within three weeks.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday threw out the 2013 budget proposal of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The lawmakers said the presentation of the bill failed procedural steps as details of the proposal were not in the bill that would have enabled thorough examination by the lawmakers.
House Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola who presented the bill, had a difficult time reading it while making the presentation.
Of the N55,852,837,000, the NCC proposed N29,317?457,000 for capital and special projects, while N14,667,445,000 was for recurrent expenditure.
N7,311,474?000 was proposed for transfer to Federal Government, while N10,521,740,000 was for transfer to Universal Service Fund,
On reading the mood of the House, Chairman, Committee on Communications, Oyetunde Ojo (APC, Ekiti), said the Committee needed time to further scrutinise the document to be able to make quality input. He was supported by the House Leader who asked that the bill be stepped down.
The request was granted by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal.




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