The Senate today accused ministers and heads of some Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of slowing down the legislative work on the 2018 Appropriation Bill through incessant foreign trips and non-cooperation with the lawmakers.
Members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly leveled the allegation during the plenary session.
Specifically, the lawmakers faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly not complying with the Appropriation law by laying the 2018 Appropriation Bill with details of estimates each MDA is expected to have appropriated to it.
In what appeared like a legislative order to address the anomaly, the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, asked the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations to update members on the stage the legislative work on the 2018 budget.
The Chairman, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji told the lawmakers at the session that since the year began, the Committee had been expecting relevant MDAs to present the sub-committee on Appropriation but that response had remained very low.
He explained: “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”, Senator Ogbuoji added.
Reacting to the report by the Appropriation Committee’s Chairman, Senate President, who expressed the desire to ensure that the Bill is passed without further delay, told 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.”
It would be recalled that the Senate had on February 14 asked 63 federal agencies and parastatals to submit details of their proposed 2018 budgets within 7 days of the order or face sanctions.