• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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2020 revised budget: Finance minister, AGF shun Senate’s invitation again

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The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has again shunned invitation by the Senate; asking her to brief the Committee on Appropriation on the performance of the 2020 budget.

This is the second time in two weeks that the minister has refused to appear before the committee.

She was absent alongside the Accountant-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, and the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.

The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Barau Jubrin, while briefing journalists in Abuja on Thursday on the development expressed his disappointment.

He said the meeting was originally scheduled to hold two weeks ago but was shifted at the request of the Minister of Finance and the DG.

He said, “We have invited the Minister of Finance and Director General of Budget office in order to have a brief about 2020 budget performance, this is the second time we are scheduling this meeting.

“In the absence of the key drivers of the economy; the Senate had no other option than call off the crucial meeting where it had hoped to scrutinize the details of the performance of the 2020 budget.

“But today still they are not able to come, we are supposed to start this meeting for 2 pm, but we are here 3:15 pm fifteen minutes, we are yet to see them.

“We don’t know the reason, we have been told that the Accountant General is on his way, but we have not heard anything from the Minister of Finance.

“We are going to adjourn the meeting and to find out why they are not here, we are going to reschedule the meeting for another date.”

Jubrin said it was very important for his committee to conduct the exercise as part of its constitutional mandate to ensure proper implementation.

“The budget performance is something that is dear to us, very important, it is part of the mandate of this committee,” he said.

Senate had on June 10, 2020, passed the revised 2020 budget of N10.8 trillion.

Jubrin said the budget meant nothing, if not implemented.

He added, “It is part of our mandate to always oversight what is going on about budget performance, particularly this time that we want the economy to be fully up and running after the lockdown due to COVID-19. It is unfortunate that they are not here, we will find out why they are not here.”