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Reps spot flaws in 2019 budget

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The much anticipated debate on general principles on the N8.83 trillion 2019 Appropriation Bill commenced on Wednesday in the House of Representatives after two postponements.

At the session, members of the House of Representatives asked the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, to urgently correct some errors noticed in the 2019 budget.

Chika Adamu (APC, Shiroro/Rafi/Munya of Niger State) raised the issue while contributing to the matter.

He listed major ministries with errors in their budgets to include those of Finance, Education, Budget and National Planning, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

He said: “When you go to the Education Ministry, in part C which is the Recurrent Expenditure which consists of both the Personnel Cost and Overhead, you will realise that the budget is N462.2 billion and when you go to summary of the budget by MDAs number 41:0.5.1.8 personnel now has N539.6 billion overhead. There is also another N33.5 billion now making the total recurrent expenditure when you go by the summary of the MDAs has changed to N539 billion and I don’t know why the figure was added at that level.

“When you go to Ministry of Finance, the overhead, it now becomes N2.26 trillion and therefore that has also changed. The total which is now personnel and the overhead is now N2.27 trillion. That has changed.

“In the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, in the Part C it is N9.3 billion, however, when you go to summary by MDAs which is number 28:0.2.3.8 personnel cost has now become N66.21 billion. Then overhead also changed there, it has N832.2 billion, then the total which is Personnel and Overhead in that aspect has now become N1.49 trillion.

“There’s also change in the capital which is about N655.9 trillion at a total allocation of the Ministry of Budget and Planning, instead of N9.3 billion, has now become N2.15 trillion. Also at capital which is the D aspect, page 118 appeared only as the Federation. We don’t have any MDAs called Federation, however, when I continued my research, I realise that ‘Federation’ there means capital component of N31.8 billion but I continued I realise the Federation is referring to the office of the Secretary to the Government the Federation (SGF), so why the Federation?”

His position was supported by Ahmad Patigi (PDP, Edu/Moro/Pategi Federal Constituency of Kwara State), who observed that the 2019 budget was filled with errors and therefore consideration should be suspended.

Reacting to the issue, the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), explained that there was no need to send the document back to the Executive, adding that the mathematical errors observed in the document would be corrected through correspondence between both arms of government.

On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the session, noted that relevant committees would liaise with the budget office to correct the errors, while assuring that an error-free budget would be presented on Thursday.

 

OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

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