With effect from tomorrow, the House of Representatives adhoc committee on the non- implementation of capital projects in the 2015 Appropriation Act will commence an investigative hearing with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in attendance.
In the absence of substantive ministers, Permanent Secretaries of Federal Ministries would have to explain to the lawmakers factors responsible for the non-implementation of the N700.78 billion component of the N4.4 trillion approved in the 2015 Appropriation Act by the National Assembly with three quarters already gone of the fiscal year.
The National Assembly while considering the Executive’s 2015 budget, proposal increased capital expenditure from N633.53 billion to N700.78 billion and reduced recurrent expenditure from N2.616 trillion to N2.584 trillion.
The Ahman Pategi headed Committee is expected to assess the performance of Federal Ministry of Finance in carrying out its mandate as contained in the Appropriation Act and Section 30(1,2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and report back to the House on resumption on September 29.
Just before the House went on recess, a motion titled “Non-implementation of capital projects as Contained in the 2015 Appropriation Act; Federal Government budget and serial breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by the Federal Ministry of Finance and threats to my effective representation of my constituency,” sponsored by a member, Hon. Patrick Asadu (PDP-Enugu) acted as a catalyst for the resolve of the lawmakers to institute the probe.
When the debate began, members expressed worry over the report that over 11,000 projects were abandoned across the country and warned that further delays in the implementation of the 2015 capital budget will expose the country to higher eventual expenditures on the same projects.
While presenting his argument on the motion, Asadu said the non release of funds for the implementation of the capital components of previous Appropriation Acts was worrisome.
He said: “By Sections 81 and 82 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Federal Government expenditures must be either as direct charges on the constitution, as contained in the Appropriation Act or supplementary Appropriation Act where applicable or as may be specifically prescribed by the National Assembly, while Section 30(1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act clearly mandates the Hon. Minister of Finance through the Budget Office to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the annual budget, and assess the attainment of fiscal targets and report thereon on a quarterly basis to the Joint Finance Committee of the National Assembly and to also publish same in the mass and electronic media not later than 30 days after the end of each quarter of the financial year.
“There has not been any constitutional amendment adjusting the financial year by the National Assembly nor has any public announcement has been made by the Ministry of Finance in any mass and electronic media on the implementation of the budget and attainment of fiscal targets.”
Speaker Yakubu Dogara thereafter inaugurated an adhoc committee headed by Pategi to ascertain the level of implementation of the capital expenditure of the 2015 Appropriation Act after members overwhelmingly voted in favour of the motion.
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