• Friday, July 19, 2024
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2023 budget: Reps fume as agencies shun MTEF hearing

Reps to probe $11bn P&ID contract scam

The House of Representatives has expressed displeasure over the failure of many government agencies to appear before the committee on finance for interaction on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) 2023-2025, preparatory to the 2023 budget.

Saidu Abdullahi, the deputy chairman of the House committee on finance expressed the feeling of the lawmakers at the resumed sitting of the panel in Abuja on Wednesday.

Abdullahi said the parliament will not accept agencies of government ignoring invitations to appear before it and explain what they have done with the revenue they have generated and projections for the next financial year.

Several agencies scheduled to appear before the committee since the exercise commenced on Monday have failed to appear while those that showed up did not present the required document to the lawmakers.

The agencies include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which was turned down by the committee until the Governor appear in person; Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police Trust Fund and Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Oil and Gas Free Zone.

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Others are: Federal Ministry of Power, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Galaxy Backbone PLC, Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, Nigeria Export Import Bank, Nigeria Port Authority and Nigeria Shippers Council.

Also, only four out of the 12 agencies that were supposed to appear before the committee on Wednesday came, but they were turned back for improper preparation and presentation of the MTEF upon which the annual budget is prepared based revenue and expenditure projections.

The committee’s chairman further disapproving of the agencies attitude said: “we made this clear yesterday that ordinarily, we are supposed to be on recess, but because of the core importance of this exercise, we called off our recess to take up this national assignment. It is very unfortunate that while we are making this sacrifice, the agencies are not turning up as expected.

“The National Assembly will not take this lightly with the agencies. It is a call to national duty. We do not understand why they should shy away from responding to the responsibility imposed on them.

“It should be a point of note that all agencies that have been invited must cause appearance. Otherwise, we will rely on the power confer on us by the constitution to make them responsible. This apathy is not something that should be acceptable to anybody and we will not accept it.

“We have agencies that are highly irresponsible. If this country is not working today, let it be out there so that Nigerians will know that it is of the shoulders of the MDAs. We have invited them for this all important exercise, but unfortunately, most of them have shown apathy. We don’t know what they are afraid of, but it is a matter of responsibility.

“If you have willingly accepted the call for service, I don’t understand why you should shy away from taking responsibility. So, let it be known that we have agencies that are highly irresponsible. The responsibility of making this country work rest on the National Assembly and the Executive. We are doing our part of it, but unfortunately, we are not getting what we expect from the agencies”.