The Senate has frowned at the non-submission of 2017 budget estimates by 34 out of the 38 government agencies to the National Assembly, eight months after the September 2016 deadline.
This, the upper legislative chamber stressed, constitutes abuse of power and a violation of extant laws.
A substantive motion to this effect is expected to come up at Wednesday plenary for debate and resolution.
Out of the 38 federal agencies, only four have complied with the Fiscal Responsibility Act by submitting their budget estimates alongside the 2017 appropriation submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2016. They include: Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and National Agencies for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.
The 34 agencies yet to submit their 2017 budget estimates include: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Maritime Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Others yet to comply include: Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigerian Postal Service, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Ports Authority.
Also included are: Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Radio Nigeria, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), National Communications Commission (NCC) National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) among others.
Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that all Revenue Generating Agencies shall not spend revenues they generate except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.
Also, Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 stipulates that federal agencies should submit their budget estimates to the National Assembly on or before the end of September.
This followed a Point of Order moved by Deputy Senate Leader Bala Ibn Na’Allah at plenary.
“I am the one responsible for the collation of reports and we have not received one single report regarding the budget of parastatals, which were supposed to have been given by September. I want to put it on record; we have not received any report,” he said.
In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki who presided over the session, wondered why most agencies did not submit their budgets alongside the 2017 budget, presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 14, 2016.
He condemned the practice where agencies of government spend money without statutory approval by the National Assembly.
He said: “This is a very serious issue because as we all know, in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, these things are meant to have been submitted since August and the worse to come with the (2017) appropriation document. We have now passed it and no report. I think this matter really needs to come as a motion because it’s a very serious matter, we need to debate it because we are already in May and how can patastatals be operating without any budget, especially in this time of fight against corruption? We need to take this matter seriously because clearly these agencies are just flouting the guidelines and breaking the law”.
In July 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded the 2016 budget proposals of 38 MDAs to the National Assembly for consideration, thereby making it the first time revenue generating agencies would be subjected to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.