Deputy Senate President Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has tasked the executive arm of government on the need for full implementation of the 2013 budget passed into law last month, adding that both chambers of the National Assembly will commence its oversight responsibility this month to ensure proper implementation of the N4,987,202,425,601 budgeted for the fiscal year.
Ekweremadu, who spoke after the passage of the 2013 budget, said: “I believe that now that we have passed the budget in earnest, there will be no more excuse for the non-implementation of our budget so we expect that the 2013 budget will be implemented to the full and this also challenge us to start from today in January the issue of oversight to ensure the proper execution of the 2013 budget. So we too have our responsibility in this respect, I would like to call on every member of the National Assembly to get ready for us to ensure the important implementation of the 2013 budget.”
While congratulating both chambers for early passage of the budget, he said: “Dear colleagues, I would like to congratulate you on this achievement. I recalled that in the year 2009, this Senate passed the Appropriation Bill before going for Christmas. But this is the first time since 1999 that the two chambers are passing the Appropriation Bill before the end of the year without any need for any conferencing.”
“So, I think the National Assembly needs to be congratulated as this is a vote for the maturity of the National Assembly and the progress of our democracy. So, we too have our responsibility in this respect, I would like to call on every member of the National Assembly to get ready for us to ensure the important implementation of the 2013 budget. Once more I would like to congratulate you for the early passage of the 2013 budget of the federation of Nigeria,” he stated.
Speaking to THISDAY after the passage of the budget, the Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Ahmad Maccido, hinted that conceptualisation of the budget by the executive remains an intractable issue that would be carefully addressed by the lawmakers.
He said: “There should be a verifiable template for the budgeting especially on capital projects. “If the painful sight of abandoned projects in Nigeria will be a thing of the past, then ongoing projects must be properly defined.
“A situation where projects not found in 2011 and 2012 budgets are found in 2013 as ongoing is very misleading. In the same vein, a situation where uncompleted projects are not included in the budget of budgets of succeeding years is wasteful.”
Maccido advised the executive to be more thorough in compiling the budget, noting that some critical areas like the Public Complaints Commission was treated as if it were a mere one officer secretariat.
He added that the Auditor-General, who serves as the check to all government accounts within and outside the country was left with meagre amount that could barely sustain his office.
Maccido said: “We still must continue to make efforts towards a realistic and workable budget for Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, Ekweremadu in his New Year message assured Nigerians that the year 2013 would yield better dividends of democracy, peace, and prosperity.
He said: “I believe enough groundwork has been laid towards the actualisation of the transformation agenda of government towards surmounting the many challenges facing the nation. With the early passage of the 2013 budget, more maturity on the path of institutions of governance and greater sense of responsibility, love, unity, and patriotism among all Nigerians, I have no doubt that the future is indeed bright for the nation, despite the present challenges.”
He noted that the National Assembly would go beyond the passage of the 2013 budget to lay greater emphasis on oversight of the institutions of governance to ensure full implementation for the benefit of the masses.