2023 Budget: Senate Frowns At N12.41trillion Deficit

The Senate on Tuesday decried a projected deficit of N12.41trillion in the 2023 budget.

It described the amount as “unacceptable.”

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, made this assertion during an interactive session on the 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) organised by the committee in Abuja.

He said: “Let me place it on record at this point that the Senate Committee on Finance started an investigative hearing on 9th March 2021 on remittances of all revenue generating agencies of government to the Consolidated Revenue for the Federation (CRF) as well as payment of the 1% Stamp Duty on all contracts executed in all MDAs.

“The investigation, which is still ongoing, is targeted at blocking revenue leakages as well as boosting revenues of the government in the face of dwindling resources from ‘traditional’ revenue source of crude oil.

“It is also premised on the need to reduce government yearly budget deficits resulting in massive borrowings from local and international sources.

“It is in this wise that the committee frowns at the projected N12.41trillion budget deficit contained in the 2023-2025 MTEF/FSP and the alarming projection of ‘no provision for treasury-funded MDAs’ capital projects in 2023.”

“This scenario is unacceptable and we must find ways to drastically reduce the deficit humongous figure.

“It is apparent that the borrowing trends cannot be allowed to continue unchecked and conscious efforts must be made to reduce budget deficits.

“Achieving these goals requires us to look inwards towards increased revenue generation, blocking of leakages and restraints on what are generally frivolous expenditures by MDAs, particularly the Government Owned Enterprises (GEOs).

“Our preliminary findings and directives to some of the agencies had led to payment of millions of Naira into CRF in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the 1999 Constitution.

“It is needless to say that these millions not paid to CRF contribute to the yearly huge budget deficits of the federal government.

“The investigation was also able to get some agencies to accept opting out of the Federal budget altogether based on their internal revenue generating ability. Some of these findings are relevant to the proceedings of this 5-day interactive session.

“From the challenges thrown up against our economy in terms of the Russia-Ukraine war, the impact of crude oil theft, insecurity, and continuing infrastructure deficits, it is time for all to agree that it cannot be business as usual for government revenue and expenditures.

“We need to block all revenue leakages and misuse in MDAs as well as control expenditure to free funds for needed infrastructure development and provision of social services.”

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