At the plenary on Wednesday, the upper chamber of the National Assembly decried that ministers and heads of Federal Government departments and agencies were allegedly frustrating legislative work on the budget proposal with their foreign trips and non-cooperation with the lawmakers.
The Senate had on February 14, 2018, asked 63 agencies and parastatals under the Federal Government to submit details of their proposed 2018 budgets within one week or risk sanctions.
Members of the chamber had decried that while President Muhammadu Buhari had complied with the law by laying the 2018 Appropriation Bill along with details of estimates before the lawmakers, agencies of the government had disregarded the law.
On Wednesday, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, asked the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of what was happening to the 2018 budget.
Responding, Ogbuoji said, “Since January, the Appropriations Committee’s doors have been opened to receiving reports from the sub-committees but most of the sub-committees have a huge challenge with the MDAS because majority of the MDAS are not coming forward to interface with them. Some of the ministers will tell you that they are going outside the country and because of that, the MDAs are not fully ready. So, we don’t have the reports yet.
“We believe that it is when the MDAs come forward that our colleagues will be able to finish with their work. Some of the committees are unable to do their work. When they (committees) screen what they (MDAs’) have brought, they will ask them to go back and work on them budgets and come back. But they don’t come back, and that is delaying the work on majority of the MDAs. That is why up till today, we don’t have completed report.”
Reacting, Saraki said it was the intention of the lawmakers to complete the process as soon as possible. He asked the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, to communicate to the Executive “so that these MDAs and these ministers and heads of agencies can be told to play their part and ensure that this exercise can be completed.”