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2022 budget: Senate gives MDAs 1wk ultimatum to defend loan requests



President Buhari signs 2021 budget into law

Senate haa given seven different ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs of the federal government yet to defend their own components of N5.01trillion loan projected for financing of N6.26trillion deficit in the 2022 budget

The affected MDAs as announced by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, are the Federal Ministries of Petroleum Resources; Power; Environment; Health; Water Resources; Women Affairs and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI.

The upper legislative chamber threatened heads of the affected agencies with serious sanctions if they fail to appear before its Commitee on Local and Foreign Debts within one week for the required interface.

The Senate President issued the ultimatum after the conclusion of debate on general principles of the 2022 budget proposals and passage for second reading ahead of further consideration at various committee levels.

Lawan said: “Some ministries, departments and agencies of federal government that should have appeared before the Senate Committee on Loan and Foreign Debts to defend the debt request by the executive arm of government must do so before final consideration of the budget.

“These MDAs failed to appear. The Senate considers this attitude as a sabotage to the effort of the federal government to secure the loans and fund the infrastructure development that this country desperately needs.

“Already, the National Assembly has approved the loan requests, but there is need for clarifications by the affected agencies.

“Therefore, we are giving them just one week to appear before the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts and if they fail to appear, we’ll take appropriate and prompt action because this Senate will not condone any sabotage to the effort of this administration.”

Earlier in the plenary during debate on the budget proposals, many of the senators who spoke emphasised the need for the N5.01trillion borrowing to be utilized judiciously on infrastructure as stated in the proposal.

The lawmakerrs in their separate submissions also stressed the need for government to look inward for implementation of the budget through increased revenue generation, collection and remittances by relevant agencies.

After passing the budget for second reading, the Senate accordingly set aside October 18 to November 9 for consideration at the committee level.

The Senate President specifically directed the Committee on Appropriations to collaborate with all the relevant committees within the period for report presentation within four weeks.

Meanwhile, in monitoring the implementation of the recently passed Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, Lawan directed the Committees on Petroleum (Upstream), Petroleum (Downstream) and Gas to monitor the process very strictly.

“You need to be very vigilant on stage by stage implementation of the Act by the Executive. Your oversight functions on this , must be more consistent and thorough,” he said.

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