Senate blames ministers for budget delay

The Senate yesterday blamed ministers for delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.

President Muhammadu Buhari presented the N8.6tr budget proposal to the joint session of the National Assembly on November 7, last year. The Executive had targeted a return of the country’s budget to January to December fiscal calendar.

A one week ultimatum has been given to ministers and heads of agencies to appear for budget defence. It would elapse next Friday.

At the plenary session yesterday, Senate President Bukola Saraki requested the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sunny Ogbuoji (PDP, Ebonyi) to explain how far the committee had gone on the budget.

Ogbuoji said the budget passage was being delayed by ministers and heads of agencies.

“Most of the subcommittees have huge challenges with the MDAs because majority of them are not coming forward to interface with them. Some ministers will tell you they are travelling out of the country and because of them; the MDAs are not fully ready.

“Again, some of the MDAs, when asked to go back and work on what they brought, they don’t come back. And that is really delaying the work. That is why we don’t have a comprehensive report up till today,” he said.

Saraki gave the MDAs until Friday next week to conclude interacting with subcommittees of the Senate.