Senate threatens to sanction NNPC, CBN, 36 others for operating without budget
The Senate Tuesday gave marching orders to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue Service and 35 other Federal Government agencies to submit their 2017 budget proposals for approval or risk sanction.
The upper chamber said that it was unbecoming that five months into the year, 38 statutory agencies of the Federal Government have failed to submit their budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year.
It said that the agencies continued to make huge extra budgetary expenditure against the law establishing them.
Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South) drew the attention of the Senate to what he described as the abnormality of the agencies to submit their budgets for the approval of the National Assembly.
Na’Allah noted it is wrong for agencies to spend money that has not been appropriated by the legislature.
Na’Allah told the Senate that he intends to bring the issue to the floor as a motion so that Senators will understand the implications and the need to assist the government to fight corruption.
He said, “I deliberately decided that I will bring it on the floor, so that Senators will understand the implications.
“In our commitment to assist this government to fight corruption, we must stand on our feet that every spirit of our law must be obeyed by those holding public offices. I think that if you permit me I will like to come tomorrow by way of motion, so it can be debated on the Floor of the Senate.”
“The only approach this Senate can take to assist this government in fighting corruption is to insist that gross abuse of power and misuse of power must be stopped by every government agency. The only way we can build our institutions is to radically address the issue of abuse of power and misuse of power. I think that if you give me permission, I will like to bring it tomorrow as a motion.”
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who agreed with the submission of Na’Allah expressed displeasure over the failure by most government agencies to submit their 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
Saraki condemned the practice where agencies of government spend money without statutory approval by the National Assembly.
He ruled that the Senate would comprehensively debate the issue and take a resolution today.
Saraki said: “We are already in May. How can parastatals be operating without any budget, especially in this time of the fight against corruption and ensuring that there is transparency in governance? We need to take this matter seriously because clearly these agencies are just flouting the guidelines and breaking the law.
“This is a very serious issue because as we all know, in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act; these budgets are meant to have been submitted to the National Assembly since August 2016.
“They are supposed to have come with the Appropriation document. We have now passed the 2017 budget without the budgets of the parastatals. I think this matter really needs to come up as a motion because this is a very serious matter. We need to debate it.
“Leader, this is a very important issue and we must debate it tomorrow and if there is any Committee in exception or that have received from agencies they oversight, then they will have the opportunity to at least clear the parastatals and Agencies, that have sent their budgets.
“But if as at middle of May, we are saying we have not received any budget from them, then which money are they spending and with what authority? We need to look into that and take a decision that may be they can only pay salaries until they bring their budgets here and approvals given.
“I think once and for all, we need to address this issue and put an end to this disregard for laws and areas of corrupt practices,” the Senate President said.
Agencies that are supposed to submit their budget proposals for approval by the National Assembly included NNPC, CBN, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASEI), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Others are the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), National Maritime Authority (NMA), Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Nigerian Postal Service (NPS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The list also includes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), National Communications Commission (NCC), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Others are National Insurance Commission (NIC), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Radio Nigeria, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Federal Mortgage Bank, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), as well as Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGZFA)