Kogi Assembly warns ministries against extra-budgetary spending

By The Citizen

The Kogi State House of Assembly on Tuesday in Lokoja warned ministries, departments and agencies against extra-budgetary spending.

The Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello, gave the warning when the officials of the Kogi State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources defended the ministry's 2014 budget proposal.

Bello said that the agencies should return to the Assembly for supplementary budget if they had any reason to exceed their budgetary allocation.

Bello observed that the ministry overshot its budgetary allocation in 2013 without seeking the approval of the House as provided by section 121(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The constitution provides that if the amount for any purpose is insufficient, a supplementary estimate showing the sum required should be forwarded to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

Bello said that the ministry's revised estimate for 2013 was put at N900 million against N100 million approved by the House for Rehabilitation/Procurement of plants and equipment.

On the 2000 hectares of rice farms across the seven local government areas of the state, Bello said the ministry's expenditure was N479.01 million against the approved budget of N200 million.

Bello said that budget defence was not a ritual, but a genuine fulfillment of the concept of constitutionalism.

Dr Olufemi Bolarin, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that only N804.4 million was released out of the N2.6 billion allocated to the ministry in 2013.

He said the figure represented 29.4 per cent of the total allocation, adding that the ministry, therefore, was rather under-funded in 2013.

He said that the ministry was engaged in the development of upland rice farming at Sarkin-Noma, Ejiba and Odu and Soyabeans in Osara and Karara parts of the state in 2013, among other activities. NAN