By Ajogwu Jerry
The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday threatened to sign the 2018 budget without submissions from non conforming Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The threat is coming after an observation by the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki had motioned Ogbuoji to tell the Senate the position of the 2018 Appropriation Bill whose implementation should have started on January 1st, 2018.
Ogbuoji informed the Senate that majority of MDAs refused to turn up for their budget defence as required by law.
He noted that due to the failure of the MDAs to appear for budget defence, the budget report that could have been presented for consideration was not ready.
According to him:
“Majority of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies are not coming forward to interface with the standing committees. Some of the ministers will tell you they have a team, they are going outside the country and because of that; the MDAs are not fully ready.
“So we don’t have the reports yet. We believe that when the MDAs come forward, our colleagues will be able to finish their work.
“Some of the committees are unable to do their work. When they screen what they have brought, they will ask them to go back to us but they don’t come back”.
The Senate President who expressed displeasure with the attitude of the MDAs, said that the Senate was prepared to conclude the process of the 2018 Appropriation Bill to ensure its passage.
He maintained that the perception is that the National Assembly was delaying the process meanwhile it is on the contrary.
In his words:
“It is our intention to see that this process can be concluded as early as possible. But Senate Majority Leader will communicate and get in touch with the Executive arm of government so that these MDAs can be told to play their part to ensure that this exercise can be completed because unfortunately the perception is it is parliament that delays these things.
“I appeal to all these ministers and Managing Directors that keep on travelling, this is a time for you to sit on ground and ensure that you finish this report.”