Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the federal government has been borrowing to fund budgets because many revenue-generating agencies have been performing below expectation.
Ezrel Tabiowo, special assistant (press) to the senate president, quoted Lawan as saying this while speaking at the third University of Benin/National Institute for legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) convocation ceremony.
The senate president reportedly said national assembly through its oversight function will beam its searchlight on revenue-generating agencies that are underperforming.
“Today, Nigeria is challenged by unavailability of revenues. We can pass the budget in record time, but when it comes to implementation, that becomes subject to how much revenue we are able to realise,” he said.
“Majority of the agencies don’t remit these revenues. They force the Nigerian government to resort to borrowing.
“The time has come for the national assembly to continuously engage revenue generating agencies to know what their challenges are. Where they have targets, we must ensure they meet these targets. Where they don’t meet them, we should find out why.”
The senate president said the lawmakers are working hard to pass the budget before the Christmas break.
“Our target for tomorrow, the 29th of October, as the last day for budget defence remains,” he said.
“We hope that from this week, the 30th of October to the 5th of November; we expect all our sub-committees of the appropriations committee to defend their budgets before the appropriation committees of the Senate and the House.
“We are desirous and determined to ensure that the budget is laid on the 28th of November this year. We want to ensure that we pass the budget before the end of this year by December when we will go for Christmas break.”
He also defended Nigeria’s choice of bicameral legislature, saying it is meant to “address the country’s diversity and ethnic composition to ensure justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians irrespective of whether they are from minority or majority ethnic groups”.