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2011 Budget Grinds To A Halt At The Senate

Source: EMMA UCHE. - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, Feb 28, (THEWILL) – Nigeria’s 2011 Budget has run into troubled waters as the Senate today declared that it would stop consideration of the 2011 budget until the Minister of Finance, Dr. Olusegun Aganga submits the budget estimates of agencies and corporations mentioned in the schedule therein along with the draft Appropriation Bill.

In a letter to the President of the Senate, signed by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore, the committee insisted that the Budget bill would be processed in line with the relevant laws enacted to further consolidate the gains of the reforms carried out since the inception of democracy in 1999, and recalled that the National Assembly leadership had promised Nigerians that as part of the steps to entrench good governance it must comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

According to him, "One of the Acts of the National Assembly in this direction is the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 of which Section 21 sub-sections (1)(2)(a&b) and (3) mandates the Minister of Finance to submit the budget estimates of the agencies and corporations mentioned in the schedule therein along with the draft Appropriation Bill.”

The agencies and corporations are as follows: Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Nigerian Social Insurance Corporation Trust Fund (NSCITF), Corporation Affairs Commission (CAC), National Clearing and Forwarding Agency, Nigeria Unity Line, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Nigerian Shippers Council.

Others are; National Maritime Authority, Raw Material Research and development Council, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, National Sugar Development Council, Nigerian Postal Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Mining Corporation, Nigeria Re-insurance Corporation, Nigerdock Nigeria Plc, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria, Nigerian Telecommunication, National Automotive Council, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, National Communication Commission , National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

However, Senator Omisore said, "despite our concerted efforts, with repeated phone calls, personal visits and interactions with the Ministry of Finance, the budget estimates of the agencies have not been submitted and the non-compliance has caused the delay in the passage of the budget as planned.

"We wish to reiterate that any further delay to submit the budget of these agencies may continue to affect the passage of the bill as we don't want to go against the Act of the Parliament.

"We urge the Senate President to use his good offices to facilitate quick submission of the budget estimates of the organizations mentioned above in with Fiscal Responsibility Act," he wrote.