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Reps: MDAs unable to account for previous spending may not get allocation in 2022 budget

Reps: MDAs unable to account for previous spending may not get allocation in 2022 budget
October 14
21:29 2021

The house of representatives says ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that failed to utilise funds in the 2021 budget for the purposes it was approved for, may not get approval for allocations in the 2022 budget.

Ben Kalu, spokesperson of the lower legislative chamber, disclosed this on Thursday while briefing journalists in Abuja.

Last week, the green chamber directed all its standing committees to investigate some MDAs over the alleged diversion of funds.

Kalu said it is a “wrong strategy” for MDAs to wait for 100 percent of funding to be made available before they commence the execution of government projects.

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“It is one thing to move the budget early enough; it is another thing to return the budget to the January to December calendar; it is another thing to sabotage the government by saying you have not received 100 percent and so there would be no implementation,” he said.

“There is nowhere that the appropriation committee stated that you must receive 100 percent funding before you start implementing the budget. We actually frown at the agencies or the ministries who say they have only received 75 percent or 60 percent and are waiting for more to come before implementation.

“Why don’t you start with that 50 percent that you have received. When the other ones come, you mobilise the people, especially on capital projects. But you wait till the dying minutes and then start giving somebody 100 percent for him to be able to perform on that before coming for budget presentation; it is a very wrong strategy and this is one thing that we want the MDAs to change, and that is what we are going to be looking out for in the budget implementation defence when they appear before us.

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“Yes, most of them will be sent back. MDAs that took the money of the government and kept it in the bank and refused to use it and are coming to tell us that it was not complete, they would be sent back. And some of them may not get appropriation in this new budget until you justify what you took before. What is the essence of asking to give you more?”

Kalu added that the lower legislative chamber will ensure that its resolutions involving funds are accounted for in the budget.

“Another thing we are going to be looking out for in this budget are those various resolutions that we reached as a parliament, which are supposed to be handled by the various MDAs for them to capture it in their budget,” he said.

“If you ignored the resolutions of the parliament and you drafted your budget without reference to what the representatives of the Nigerian people have asked you to please consider while preparing your budget, you have acted on the frolic of your own.

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“It is an exercise in futility, because we are going to pick it up and we are going to match it against the legislative compliance committee’s report, who would find out whether the MDAs are complying with legislative resolutions. It is no longer an all-comers affair.”

The lawmaker added that the budget will be duly scrutinised in the interest of Nigerians.

“I want to guarantee Nigerians that the budget would not be as it came to the national assembly. It is either it goes up or it goes down. But it would not be garbage in, garbage out,” he said.

“A lot of work is going to be done, and as you know, the house has adjourned till the 9th of November to enable us to consider this budget at the committee level. So, by the time we come back, we would be looking at the work done so far, and if there is a need to go back again, we would.”

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