NASS Tasks MDAs To Provide Targets For 2020 Budget Implementation

 

The National Assembly has tasked the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to provide achievable targets that are measurable with timelines for the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Ahmad Lawan, said the ninth Assembly is not only concerned about the timely passage of the budget but also deeply concerned about its implementation.

Lawan, flanked by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and principal officers of both chambers, spoke at the National Budget Hearing on the 2020 Federal Government Budget which began on Wednesday at the National Assembly.

The Senate President said: “We have mandated our Committees to engage with the MDAs. We want the MDAs to give us roadmaps on how they intend to achieve their targets.

“If you are taken 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in 2020, in ten years it will be one hundred million. We want to see the plans by the relevant or responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government on how the 2020 budget will be able to take 10 million Nigerians out of poverty.

“We want these to be measurable targets. We are not going to be asking for stories. We are going to be asking for facts.

“So, we are going to task the MDAs that in this year budget we will not wait until 2021, give us targets that are measurable which we can evaluate after every quarter.”

The Senate President also cautioned on the continued reliance on borrowing to fund the infrastructure needs of the country but instead suggested a Public Private Partnership (PPP) option.

“If we have to borrow, we should borrow. Where we can avoid borrowing because there is another opportunity, we should take that opportunity that has a lesser burden,” Lawan said.

Lawan is also in agreement with the suggestion for the resuscitation of the long term national planning programme.

“I agree that the long term national economic programme is useful. We had it before, it worked for us better. We stopped it and we have seen the consequences.

“So now that we have a minister that thinks that we should go back to that process and we have a National Assembly that is prepared to ensure that this country does better. We should hit the ground running.

“I am not aware of any request for legislation but if it is the desire or necessity that we legislate, this National Assembly will work with the government to ensure that we legislate on the national economic development plans,” Lawan said.

2020 Budget: We’ll Not Be Frustrated To Miss December Target, Says Lawan

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has stressed that the passage of the 2020 Budget proposals will not miss the year-end deadline, urging all Ministers, Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to take advantage and defend their budgets.

Lawan in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, reiterated the position of the National Assembly at the unveiling of the Legislative Agenda of the House of Representatives, said that the lawmakers will not allow anyone to frustrate their desire to pass the 2020 Budget by December 2019.

“The National Assembly will do the right thing; which is to work on the budget and pass it,” Lawan said at the unveiling of the Legislative Agenda of the House of Representatives.

“We will not allow anyone to frustrate our desire to pass the 2020 Budget before the end of this year. So, it is an opportunity for all those concerned with defending their budgets, to take the advantage,” Lawan said.

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He hinted that the Senate will suspend plenary next week Tuesday to begin consideration of budget defence by MDAs.

“One thing that we have collectively decided in the National Assembly is to pass the budget 2020 before the end of the year.

“Already, the House has suspended plenary; the Senate will do same on Tuesday next week for the consideration of budget defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

“Only the window of October is available for budget defence. Any Minister or Head of Agency who decides to travel out of Nigeria, without defending his or her respective budget would have no opportunity to do so.”

Namdas Blames Executive, MDAs  For Budget Delay

Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulrasaq Namdas

 

The spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, has defended the National Assembly against criticism for the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.

As far as he is concerned, the blame for the delay rests squarely with the Executive, especially Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

Namdas stated this in Abuja while appearing on Channels Television’s breakfast show ‘Sunrise’ on Saturday.

“In April, six months after the budget was brought, the executive was presenting certain provisions that we should accommodate in the 2018 budget,” he said.

“And if we had not accepted it, the story would be that we want to frustrate the (Federal) Government. We also decided to accept it in the spirit of working relationship. So we were still receiving submissions from the executive even five months after the budget was presented.”

Namda’s comments come three days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law.

Assenting to the bill on Wednesday, the President faulted the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and including thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

But the lawmakers justified the changes made to the budget and criticised the Executive in a statement on Friday, with the Presidency firing back hours later.

The President had on November 7, 2017, submitted the 2018 budget proposal of  N8.612 trillion to the National Assembly for consideration and early passage.

However, the lawmaker increased the proposal by N508 billion, bringing the total figure to N9.12 trillion before passing it in May.

Namdas is surprised that the National Assembly is being blamed for the delay.

Pointing out that it was public knowledge that the heads of MDAs of failed to appear before the lawmakers to defend the budget estimates, he recalled that it took the intervention of President Buhari before they defended their estimates.

He added, “The budget came in November. Five months after the budget was presented, President Buhari directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to also direct Chief Executives of Ministries to appear before the committees of the National Assembly.

“When we cried out that the Chief Executives were not appearing, people thought that we were joking. Later the President saw the need. So if after five months, we have Chief Executives who have refused to appear before us, how would we have concluded with a budget as fast as people were expecting?”

Senate Directs MDAs To Submit Budget Proposals In One Week

The Senate has given Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA) one-week ultimatum to submit details of their 2018 budget proposals or risk sanctions.

The Upper Chamber gave the ultimatum after Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, raised a point of order informing the Senate that out of 64 government agencies, only one has submitted details of its 2018 budget proposal.

Responding to the point of order, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, says he is disappointed that despite efforts by the President’s aide on National Assembly matters, agencies are yet to submit their 2018 budget details to Parliament.

Osun Assembly Cautions MDAs To Stop Spending Unapproved Money

Osun Assembly Cautions MDAs To Stop Spending Unapproved MoneyThe Osun House of Assembly has warned Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in the state against extra budgetary spending.

 

The House Committee Chairman on Finance and Appropriation, Mr Kamil Oyedele, gave the warning when the management of the State Ministry of Information, Home Affairs, Tourism and Culture appeared to defend its N435 million budget for 2017.

Oyedele, who noted that many of the MDAs were in the habit of spending unapproved money, said the Assembly would no longer accept such action.

He said that any head of MDAs caught spending unapproved money, would be handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Kamil said Section 32 of the state’s Appropriation Law clearly states that no money should be spent outside the amount approved in the budget.

He said in line with Section 224 and 225 ICPC, spending unapproved government money was an offence.

According to Kamil, spending money not approved by the Assembly is criminal, adding that MDAs should always inform the Assembly for approval for extra money for developmental projects.

Kamil urged the MDAs to familiarise themselves with the public procurement law recently passed by the Assembly to guide them on government spending.

Also speaking, the House Committee Chairman on Information and Strategy, Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, urged MDAs to support government drive to improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Oyintiloye said government needed improved revenue to meet the yearning of the people.

He also charged the Ministry to engage in proper dissemination of government activities.

The House Committee Chairman on Environment, Mr Ajibola Akinloye, frowned at poor services been rendered by the State Fire Service which is under the Ministry.

Akinloye said that there had been complaint of slow response of the fire fighters to fire outbreaks in the state, adding that such attitude was not good for the state.

In her response, the Coordinating Director of the Ministry, Mrs Webster Esho, said that they would continue to do their best in the proper dissemination of government activities.

On the poor response of the fire service to fire disasters in the state, Esho said that lack of personnel and necessary facilities were the major challenge.

Management of State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) and Reality Radio Vision Services also appeared before the committee.

While OSBC presented N658 million budget for 2017, Reality Radio Vision Services budget was N133 million for the year.

Osun Needs N10bn Monthly Revenue For Effective Governance – Govt.

Osun Needs N10bn Monthly Revenue For Effective Governance, Says Govt.The Government of Osun has said that the minimum requirement of the state for a sustainable and effective governance is a minimum revenue of 10 billion Naira monthly.

This disclosure was made in a communique issued at the conclusion of the retreat to review the 2017 budget proposal of the state in Ijebu-Jesa.

Osun government, in a bid to deliver on its promises to the people, concluded a three-day retreat designed to elicit robust and rigorous discussions along the line of the State’s revenue vis-à-vis budget performance in 2017.

Government, in the communique, stated that the performance of the 2016 budget, the draft 2017 budget proposal, performance of IGR and projects to be embarked and improved upon to catalyse economic growth among others were reviewed at the retreat.

Participants at the retreat were drawn from both the public and private sectors, comprising the Governor,  Deputy Governor, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Secretary to the State Government, Chief-of-Staff to the Governor, Head of Service, prominent citizens of Osun, former cabinet members of the State Executive Council and Heads of relevant MDAs of the State.

The communique held that for sustainable good governance of the state, the minimum that the state requires monthly is not less than N10 billion.

It added that the success of the proposed 2017 budget which is proposed to be a balanced budget is dependent on aggressive revenue drive that takes IGR to between five and six billion Naira per month.

It also stressed that budget estimates of the state should be driven by revenue and not expenditure in line with global best practices with the need to set up committees to: review existing revenue heads; determine genuine heads of revenues and conduct realistic assessments of what can be generated.

The communique read in part, “The proposed committees should be done within two weeks of the conclusion of the retreat. Quarterly review of revenue generation performance by all revenue generating agencies to appraise performance, identify challenges, propose solutions towards the attainment of revenue set targets.

“Mobilisation of the civil service to embrace efficiency and productivity as the essence and watchword for successful budget implementation in 2017. Effective coordination of all revenue generation activities in the state by Osun Internal Revenue Services (OIRS).

“Prioritisation of projects with a view to funding them at the appropriate time was also considered imperative and potential areas considered as quick-wins on the state’s IGR generation were identified for immediate exploration.

“State Asset Management Agency (O’SAMA) to be established for mapping, custody and management of all the state’s assets particularly land and vacant school properties across the State”.

The communique also emphasised that for effective implementation of the Land Use Charge Law, it is resolved that Local Government staff should be trained and engaged for the identification, enumeration, categorisation of properties, and service of assessment notices.

It also noted that abattoirs should be set up across the state with private sector involvement to enhance health and sanitation.

Senate Insists Ministries Must Abide By Law On Purchase Of Made In Nigeria Goods

bukola-saraki-displays-made-in-nigeria-bagThe Senate in Nigeria says it will come down hard on any Ministry, Department or Agencies (MDAs) of the government which violates the Public Procurement Law.

The law which compels the MDAs to give preference to locally produced goods in Nigeria.

Senate President Bukola Saraki gave the warning on Friday at a meeting with members of Leather and Allied Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State.

He decried huge revenue of the nation that goes into buying foreign goods.

More than two trillion Naira is spent annually on purchasing goods, he said.

The Senate President further assured the manufacturers that the National Assembly would ensure that a large chunk of the funds go into the pocket of Nigerian manufacturers.

He also urged Senate Committee Chairmen to ensure in the course of their oversight duties, that MDAs comply with the provision of the law on patronage of local manufacturers.

Senator Saraki further asked military and para-military agencies to emulate the Army by procuring items like boots and other needs locally.

The Nigerian had bought boots from local manufacturers in Aba, a popular town in Abia state, known for manufacturing of clothing, shoes and other items.

Inefficiencies, Corruption In Ports Cost Nigeria N1trn Yearly- Report

Ports, Nigeria, Corruption, Delays
The report says without clear legislation, ports governance remains prone to inefficiency and corruption.

A report on the performance of Nigerian Ports has revealed that the country loses over N1 trillion every year to port inefficiencies, process failures and corruption.

The report titled ‘Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports’ which was commissioned by the Centre for International Private Enterprises in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Financial Derivatives Company, was publicly unveiled in Lagos on Friday at the LCCI public-private discussions on port reforms.

The report states that while the efficiency of port operations is a major driver of trade and economic activities across countries, Nigeria’s case has been rather gloomy.

It says over the years, users and operators at the Nigerian Ports have been facing lingering challenges and bottlenecks which include infrastructure shortcomings, policy and regulatory inconsistencies, overlapping functions and duplicity of roles among government agencies operating within ports across the country.

The report also pointed out that a lack of clear legislation, ports governance remains prone to inefficiency and corruption. It added that under such condition, companies in the Nigerian ports have to deal with bureaucratic red tape, constant delays, high costs, harassment, and demands for illegal
charges.

Losing Money And Potential

Estimates from the research show that trillions of Naira in revenue is lost annually within the ports and business community due to inefficiencies and inherent shortcomings.

The report also stated that these inadequacies at the ports diminish their potential to create about 10,000 new jobs annually and about 800,000 jobs on the long run.

Ports, Nigeria, Reforms
Multiplicity of security agencies add to the already high costs of doing business at the Nigerian ports.

The Issues

The Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports report claimed that Nigerian seaports remain the most expensive in the West African sub-region attributing this to the cumbersome documentation requirements and double charges imposed
on importers and exporters.

Using a semi-structured survey, respondents of the study listed the documentation processes, requiring 25-33 different papers from
multiple agencies as the biggest issue contributing to time and cost delays at Nigeria’s seaports.

About one-fourth of the respondents also complained about the duplication of functions of the multiple agencies within the ports while 29% of those surveyed in the report say multiple cargo inspections are the most critical of operational bottlenecks.

port-2
An overview of the issues identified

 

Not All Doom

It is not all doom for the industry according to the report.

It stated that Nigeria’s ports continue to see substantial increment in gross tonnage by 3.3% – Compounded Annual Growth Rate – to 144.2 million tons between 2010 and 2015.

The annual growth rate of 1.8% is expected to rise until 2021 despite the challenges in the sector.

However, these growth projections are premised on the assumption that the nation’s ports will continue to be the preferred means of transporting goods in and out of the ECOWAS sub-region.

 

Call For Immediate Port Reforms

In its recommendations, the report pointed out that authorities should embark on immediate port reforms.

These reforms are expected to lead to faster clearance of goods, shorter waiting times for ships awaiting berth, eliminating redundancies in the functions of the several regulatory government agencies in the ports.

It also called for the adoption of an Integrated Advance Cargo and
customs clearance system, with scanning, sealing and tracking (SST)
capabilities, establishment  of a National Trade Data Centre and implementation of a Single Window Platform.

The report also called for more private sector investment in Nigerian Ports, reduction in the number of government agencies to 6 from 14.

From the policy end of things, report called for the immediate passage of certain legislative bills that will aid port reforms and improve performance.

These bill include the National Transport Bill and the Port and Harbour Bill (PHB).

2017 Budget Will Address Abandoned Projects – Udoma

Budget, Udo Udoma, Abandoned ProjectsThe Federal Government has promised a better national budget in 2017 to address the issue of abandoned projects across Nigeria.

The government also pledged to bring a rest to the crisis of confidence over the 2016 Budget, which has been fraught with allegation of padding right from the beginning.

The Minister of National Planning and Budget, Mr Udo Udoma, disclosed this on Wednesday at a two-day conference on capital projects, implementation and monitoring organised by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Budget Planning, Mrs Olasunbor Ayinde, hinted that the 2017 Budget would attain uniform cost price for all items presented by MDAs to fund the abandoned projects spread across the country.

President of the NIQS, Mercy Iyortyer, expressed worry over the more than 19,000 abandoned projects across Nigeria, including the Benue State Sheraton Hotel which has remained uncompleted after 33 years.

The Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, blamed the spate of uncompleted projects on lack of ethical behaviour on the part of professionals.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Public Procurement, Senator Mohammed Abdulsalami, on his part explained the controversy of budget padding while he blamed the legislature and the executive for lack of restraint.

FEC Approves Continuous Auditing To Control Expenditure

FECThe Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a presidential initiative on continuous audit, to strengthen controls of Federal government expenditures.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the decision known on Wednesday while briefing reporters on the outcome of the FEC meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mrs Adeosun said that the initiative would not just strengthen the internal audit of the payroll but general expenditures, which may include among others, contracts and pensions of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) without notice.

She revealed that the government had commenced the second phase of the payroll of another potential 11,000 ghost workers.

This the Minister said was sequel to the first phase of the payroll audit which revealed the existence of 23,000 ghosts workers, which saved the country about 2.29 billion Naira.

FG To Introduce Procurement Guidelines

external reserves-procurementsThe Federal Ministry of Finance has announced plans to introduce price guidelines for procurement purposes by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Having reviewed the overhead expenditure data of the MDAs from 2012 to 2014, the unit found that cumulative expenditure on items purchased was 825 billion Naira.

According to the head of the unit, Mrs Patience Oniha, the figure represents 61% of the cumulative total overhead expenditure of 1.35 billion Naira for the period.

In order to cut costs on recurrent expenditure, Mrs Oniha said that the efficiency unit of the Ministry would introduce ministerial debit cards to the MDAs to monitor procurement and expenses.