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Fiscal Responsibility Commission Blames Finance Ministry Over Budget Failures

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ABUJA, October 17, (THEWILL) - The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) Wednesday blamed the Ministry of Finance’s budgeting process for the poor performance of the 2012 budget.

Chairman of the FRC, Alhaji Yelwa made this known in an interaction with the House of Representatives committee on finance.

He was represented by the Commissioner in charge of Policy and Standards, Dr. Sylvanus Mordi, who said the ministry's activities were frustrating.

He said the ministry even denied the FRC copies of the Appropriation Bill due to avoidable delays associated with the ministry’s presentation of quarterly reports.

"Ministry of Finance doesn't keep to time. Tell them to bring something in August, they do in November. We have not seen the first, second and third quarterly reports on 2012," Mordi disclosed, adding, "without report there is nothing to work with."

According to him, the commission had written several reminders to the Ministry of Finance to send the reports, but that they have consistently failed to respond. "I don't know why," he stressed.

The Commissioner also lamented that the Ministry of Finance rebuffed attempts to source copies of the 2012 Appropriation Act, and had to resort to photocopies from the National Assembly.

He also blamed the Ministry for blocking information on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), an act he said violated the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

He said the budget of the agency had been systematically slashed from over N900 million in 2008 to N592 million for 2012, stressing, "it is like some people are unhappy with our existence."

He disclosed that for 2011 the commission recovered over N64 billion "operating surplus" from certain corporations, and urged the lawmakers to help it strengthen its operations.

Responding, chairman of the committee Hon. Abdulmumini Jibril tasked the commission to provide details of the operating surpluses of all agencies, and assured of the support of the National Assembly.