2023 Budget: MDAs Shun Reps Committee

Several government agencies that were supposed to appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in preparation for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) have shunned the invitation of the Committee.

Also, those that appeared before the committee for an interactive session came with half-baked reports, forcing the committee to send them back to go and repackage their report and reappear on another day.

The failure of the agencies to appear may cause a serious setback on the preparation of the template for the 20223 budget.

Out of 12 agencies that were scheduled to appear before the committee on Wednesday, only four showed up, while only two – the Nigeria Customs Service and the Debt Management Office showed up on Thursday out of 13 agencies that were scheduled to appear.

The Committee, however, discovered that the Nigeria Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion spent a whopping N23 million on office stationery in 2021, while remitting only N124 million out of the N499 million it generated in 2021 to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation.

Rep. Taiwo Oluga, on her part said the Minister of Finance should direct all agencies to comply with the Finance Act, saying “she should continue to reiterate that where ever she find herself. It appear there is conflicting information on remittances. We must stop our country from bleeding so that we can stop this borrowing. It is time we speak the language that the agencies understand”.

Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Rep. Saidu Musa Abdullahi who is presiding over the exercise said the National Assembly would not accept agencies of the government ignoring invitations to come and tell Nigerians what they have done with revenue at their disposal and what they are bringing to the table in terms of revenue generation.

He 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.

Rep. Olalekan Afolabi stated that “Until we begin to use heavy hammer on these agencies, they will not comply. They knew the right thing to do, but they are not doing it. This their report clearly show that they knew what they are doing”.

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