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FG replies senate: MDAs not delaying passage of 2018 budget

FG replies senate: MDAs not delaying passage of 2018 budget
March 04
20:50 2018
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The ministry of budget and national planning has denied claims that government ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) are delaying passage of the 2018 appropriation bill.

Last week, the senate accused the MDAs of “frustrating” efforts to pass the budget.

Sunny Ogbuoji, vice-chairman of senate appropriation committee, had said the committee was having difficulty harmonising reports on the budget because “most of the sub-committees (on the 2018 budget) have huge challenges with the MDAs”.

But the budget ministry faulted the claims, saying the MDAs — “to the best of our knowledge” — have been forthcoming with the budget defence sessions.

In a statement issued on Sunday by Ben Akabueze, director-general of budget office, the ministry also denied reports that the budget was submitted to the lawmakers without details for some MDAs.

The ministry said while President Muhammadu Buhari submitted the budget with all the usual details required by the national assembly to process it, “ministers and heads of agencies have made themselves available to explain and defend the budget”.

The statement read: “In the course of its review of the budget proposals, the NASS normally invites the MDAs to appear before them to defend the president’s budget submissions.

“Given the seriousness the presidency attaches to getting the 2018 budget passed so it could earnestly focus on achieving the goals set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-20 (ERGP), which formed the basis of the budget, it had directed heads of ministries and extra-ministerial agencies to attend to any requests for meetings/information by the national assembly (NASS) with despatch.

“To the best of our knowledge, this directive has been complied with.”

The ministry added that should any committee of the national assembly still experience issues with attendance of any MDA, Udoma Udoma, minister of budget and national planning “has indicated that he is available to liaise with the particular MDA to ensure full cooperation with NASS”.

It also said complaints about additional information with respect to the budgets of government owned agencies (GOEs) are being addressed.

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