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Concurrent Double 2020/2021 budgets, Senate accepts it erred to save the economy

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Concurrent Double 2020/2021 budgets, Senate accepts it erred to save the economy


The senate yesterday said it erred with caution to do the needful to save the country’s economy by allowing the capital aspect of the 2020 budget run till March while the 2021 budget runs its January to December cycle.
The country stand the odium of running two budgets concurrently in one budget year which the senate has been struggling to explain to the public.
If that extension is not done the country would lose the chance to complete the capital projects in the 2020 budget, funds of which have been released that would have been returned to the treasury without the ammendment at the full cycle of the 2020 budget on December 31st,2020..
The senate’s spokesperson Basiru Ajibola said the bill passed by the senate on wednesday was to creatively ensure that they use the power given to them in section 4 of the of 1999 constitution to make law for the good of the people of the country to ensure the benefit of implementation of the capital aspect of the 2020 appropriation act is not lost on Nigeria.
“Of course we would be able to derive the benefit of the stimulation of the economy.
As it were the bill has passed both the first, second and the third reading and is also being concurrently considered by the House of Representatives.
He said the 9th senate has been committed to working in the area of supporting the economy.
“The effect of COVID-19 would have been more bitting economically if not that the national Assembly decided to reverse the budget circle to January to December before the lockdown occurred in 2020.
“It actually helped us to be ready for the pandemic and the expeditious consideration of the ammendment immediately after the lockdown had been eased also facilitated the easing of the economy.

“The 2020 appropriation act was passed ahead of January 1st commencement of implementation and section 12 of that law provided that the period for expiration of the appropriation act 2020 was January to December 31st 2020 but you also know that because of the COVID-19 pandemic with the attendant lockdown of the economy and the society for months.
“Of course the drawback of the pandemic also affected the price of crude in the international market. This necessitated the ammendment of the appropriation act, ammendment of the Medium Term Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper and slight ammendment of the finance act 2020.
“As it were as at today the release for the implementation of the capital expenditure of the budget is between 75%and 100%.
“In that regard the remaining period of this year would not allow for full utilisation of funds already released. Typically of what is used to be done is that the implementation would stop by December 31st and the funds already released would have to be mopped up.
However he said in order to ensure fuller implementation of the 2020 budget which is very critical to stimulation of the economy the senate made a slight ammendment to the appropriation act to permit the implementation of the capital aspect of the 2020 appropriation act till the end of March 2021.
“That will not affect the implementation of the 2021 appropriation act. It does not also affect the implementation of the 2021 appropriation act.
Two budgets running at the same time

He said what they have done is to save the economy and the resources and country from embarrassment.

“As we are talking we have gotten 75% and 100% of the funds for implementation of the capital projects are already with the agencies.
“If did not take this innovative approach it means that a circular will go round that the fund already released should be returned to the treasury. “Just imagine whether we would be able to get back all those monies and of course you can be sure that those projects would not be implemented so the tenure, section 12 stipulates the tenure of the 2020 budget.
“It is still there it is not ammended we only made a proviso that those funds that have been release should be expended on those projects already earmarked in 2020. “There will still be 2020 capital projects not 2021 capital projects so it does not affect the tenure of the January to December budget.
“It would have been a different thing entirely assuming we are now comming to tell you we are unable to pass 2021 budget that would have been a reversal of us having a predictable budget of January to December.
“Secondly, if we dont pass 2021 budget, as far as ammendment is done, it does not affect the current part of the budget, it does not affect salary and overhead, it would mean that 2021 budget would take care of personale from January and of course concurrent implementation of the 2021 budget while we are implementing the unconcluded part of the implementation.
“It is different from appropriation act. It is a law that stipulate the expenditure of revenue and expenditure of Government over a period of time. The revenue has been earned the expenditure

He said If there is any delay in the implementation of 2021 budget till March it means staff will not collect salary as well as the inability of the national assembly to function.

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Legislature

Senate panel orders Perm sec to Produce 55 missing vehicles from Environment ministry

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Senate panel orders Perm sec to Produce 55 missing vehicles from Environment ministry

By Joseph Sunday

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts thursday gave marching orders to the new permanent secretary of the Federal ministry of Environment Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan to produce 55 official vehicles that were not properly accounted for in 2018.

The Committee had queried the Ministry of Environment over the alleged missing 55 vehicles.

The Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide relied on the 2018 Auditor General’s Report.

The query reads, ” Audit observed that 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection, all efforts to inspect and confirm their existence proved abortive and the exact location of these vehicles could not be ascertained.

“We are aware that some officers take ministry vehicles away with them when going on transfer or retirement.

” The audit further observed that the motor vehicles Logbooks had not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and track their record of maintenance. It is also noted that some official vehicles carry pdivate plate number and registered number.
Speaking after the hearing by the committee, chairmavehicles Committee  senator Mathew Orhoghide said as the accounting officer of the ministry he should make every effort to recover the 55 missing vehicles.
“The permanent secretary is required to make every effort to account for those vehicles not presented for audit.
He however appreciated the effort of the permanent secretary in trying to extricate the ministry from the infraction.
“One of the things I must tell you is any decision we take here is for the sustainable development  of what the system should be.
“Ministry of environment is our own ministry, if somebody with the responsibility of permanent secretary did not do well it would be disservice to the nation for us to rationalise his actions.
“Let us assume that these vehicles have been taken away, it is our common asset. Permanent secretary should go and produce the vehicles, by the time the presidnt gets it the first time, we want to see really how serious the executive is.
“That is why we have to do things right, if we come and treat you with kids gloves because people have been taking vehicles away, do you want it to continue. No, 
“If you take our annual budget all MDAs purchase of vehicles is enough to create jobs for all the youths, the vehicle are bought every year and they are carted away, it is not you.”
So he said, they would not allow anybody to came and blindfold the committee.

The auditor general Aghughu Adolphus Arhotomhenla had querried the ministry’s Audit that indicated 55 vehicles were not presented for physical inspection.
He said all efforts to inspect them and confirm their existence proved abortive and the location of the vehicles could not be ascertained. “We are aware that some officers take these vehicles away when going on transfer or retirement.”
Explaining further he said, “We further observed that the motor vehicle log book has not been updated, making it difficult to track the movement of these vehicles and tack their record of maintenance.
“It is also noted that some official vehicles carry private plate numbers in place of Government registered number.
“The above anomalies are because of failure on the part of the management to ensure proper record keeping and due process in the ministry.”
The auditor general while justifying the querry quoted financial regulations 2005 which says, “The accounting officer shall be responsible in  ensuring that there are effective control in the use of Government vehicles, for this purpose, you will ensure that the following records are maintained.
“Vehicles control register, exposition, approval for journey register, vehicle log book, vehicle maintainable register.”
He said the essence is to prevent Government vehicles from being diverted for private use, unthorised journey that may be undertaken due to lack of adherence to the internal control system put in place.
In his recommendation he said,
“The permanent secretary should account for the 55vehicles not presented during audit. He should also be sanctioned in accordance with provisions of financial regulation 3129 of the Financial regulation which says, “any officer who violates any other provision for which no sanction is specifically recommended, shall be taken to have committed gross misconduct and shall be disciplined accordingly.”
“What you have presented as your evidence here is just schedule, anybody can type anything and affix, there is no document here that connect us with the vehicles.
“I am not accepting this as evidence. Some of the vehicles don’t have chasis number, it was 2018 and we are in 2021 those vehicles still don’t have chasis number, it is not the issue of locating but that those vehicle probably must have been carried away by officers.”
In his response, the new permanent secretary said the anomaly did not happen under his watch however, he said the vehicles were not prsented to the auditor General at the time the ministry was issued the querry because the list, the register and other documents concerning the vehicles were not available circumstantially to aid the auditors verification. “Presently the list of the vehicles are available for the auditors sighting and verification.
“I want to take this opportunity to invite our esteemed auditor and maybe the committee to set up a sub-committee to come and verify and inspect these vehicles. The comprehensive list of the vehicles are attached on page 50 of our submission and they are available for sighting.
“These are records that can be updated, but the vehicles are there even in State offices they are there. What I am saying on oath is that the vehicles are available for inspection.”
“I can assure you the vehicles are available for verification and sighting, the missing details I will make sure we put them back and come back to the committee and put everything before them. “There is nothing to hide, we ar in an era of transparency and accountability and that is what the ministry is committed to doing at all times. I have given them my words on oath, we will come with all the information to present them before the committee.”

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Legislature

Zamfara lawmakers pass vote of no confidence on Mungonu

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Zamfara lawmakers pass vote of no confidence on Mungonu

For the poor handling of security issues in
Zamfara State, the State House of Assembly has passed vote of no confidence on the national security adviser Major Gen(rtd) Babagana Mungonu.
The House also recommended that the State Government immediately setup committee to investigate those behind the effort to truncate ongoing peace and dialogue in the state irrespective of political leaning.
The lawmakers were speaking against the backdrop of the federal government no fly zone order imposed on the state and total ban on mining activities.
Other reason for their action at plenary on Wednesday they said is the nonchalant attitude and poor handling of protracted security challenges in  the state by the  national security Adviser.
The lawmakers also recommended that the federal government without further delay set up a high powered committee to investigate and review the security architecture of all the security agencies and the level of their intelligence network in the state.
They called on the state government to as a matter of urgency set up an investigative committee to probe people allegedly undermining the ongoing peace process in the state irrespective of their political affiliations.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion raised by the House leader Hon Faruk Musa Dosara under matters of urgent public importance at the resumed plenary wednesday.

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Legislature

Nasarawa Assembly to probe exclusion of primary school teachers in payment voucher

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Nasarawa Assembly to probe exclusion of primary school teachers in payment voucher

From Daniel Abel, Mafia

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly, said it would summon the committee in charge of Primary School teachers screening exercise next week to investigate allegations by some teachers that their names were missing in the payment vouchers of their respective local government areas.

Hon Daniel Ogazi, the Chairman of the Committee made this known on Wednesday when he led other members of the committee on an assessment visit to ongoing construction and renovation of primary schools in Lafia, Obi and Doma Local Government Areas of the State respectively.

According to him, “We will invite the committee in charge of Primary School screening exercise next week in order to get to the bottom of the hues and cries by some primary school teachers that their names were missing in the payment vouchers”.

“We will do the needful after we hear from the committee. We will continue to stand for justice in the interest of peace and for the overall development of the education sector, ” he said.

Ogazi indicated that the inspection was aimed at ensuring that contractors adhere strictly to project specifications.

The lawmaker commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule for giving adequate attention to the education sector while assuring the state government of the assembly’s support to its policies and programmes.

The committee expressed concern over non commencement of work by some contractors in their various sites.

He also called on contractors, who are yet to complete their works to do so in their interest and for the overall development of the education sector.

“We call for speedy completion of all the ongoing works.

” We are out to ensure that the right things are done in the interest of our children and for the overall development of the education sector.

‘ We are out to ensure that we check deficiencies in projects execution in order to avoid wastage of government money, ” he said.

He urged communities across the state to take ownership of projects in their domains for the overall development of the education sector and the state at large.

Ogazi advised teachers to be disciplined in their duties for the overall development of the state.

The Committee Chairman also urged teachers to impart positive knowledge on the younger ones, adding that no society would achieve meaningful progress and development without quality education.

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