Capital Votes: Aganga To Appear Before Reps On Thursday
ABUJA, Oct 20, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives today invited the Minister of Finance, Mr. Segun Aganga to appear before it on Thursday to explain why government cannot fund the 2010 budget with just two months to the end of the year. Apart from the summons, the House also voted that unless it is satisfied with the level of implementation of the 2010 Appropriation Act, it would not commence work on the 2011 budget. Minority leader of the House, Hon. Mohammed Ali Ndume and 14 of his colleagues had sponsored a motion on the non-release of capital votes in the 2010 budget by the Federal Ministry of Finance. Hon. Ndume in his motion noted that budget implementation especially capital allocation is critical to the economic, social and political development of any nation. He expressed worry that the ministry has consistently refused to release the amounts allocated for capital projects in the 2010 Appropriation Act lamenting that “we are in the 4th quarter of the year, while the ministry has only released less than 30 percent of the capital allocation to the MDAs.” According to Ndume, while over N3.2 trillion has been released for recurrent expenditure, the capital votes that touch directly on the lives of the common man were being with held. The minority leader said due to the non-release of the capital allocation, contractors handling most road projects in the country have abandon their sites. First to speak in favour of the motion was Hon. Ita Enang (PDP, Akwa Ibom) who suggested that the parliament must insist on having a comprehensive implementation of the budget from the Executive before accepting the 2011 budget estimates soon to be presented by President Goodluck Jonathan. Also supporting the motion, Hon. Halims Agoda (PDP, Delta) queried the federal government on where the huge sums of money realized from the ‘booming oil market’ is, if it cannot fully fund the budget. “Time is not on our side and from the news coming from the finance minister that not more than 30 percent of the 2010 budget is implemented is frightful. “The question is what is happening, where is the money going to? I urge this parliament to take this matter very seriously so that this nation can go forward.” Another lawmaker, Hon. Samson Positive (PDP, Kogi) in his contribution lamented that the instead of implementing the entire budget, the federal government had adopted selective implementation, which is clearly against the Fiscal Responsibility Act enacted by the National Assembly. After a robust debate from many other members, the presiding Deputy Speaker, Hon. Usman Bayero Nafada put the question and the ayes were overwhelming. Before then, Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. John Enoh had attempted to explain the delay in the release of the capital allocation by the finance ministry but he was shouted down.