Punch||Twenty-one Federal Government agencies, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Central Bank of Nigeria, have bowed to the House of Representatives by submitting budget details of their expenditure for this year.
The budget details of the agencies were the cause of a row at the House on Tuesday last week, which stalled debate on the country’s 2014 budget by lawmakers.
The agencies, described as “big earners and big spenders”, rarely bring their budget details to the National Assembly.
It is one of the issues at the centre of the yearly budget dispute between the Executive and the National Assembly.
Last week, an All Progressives Congress member, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, had stalled the debate after he raised a point of order on the fact that the budget details of the agencies were not attached to the national budget.
Jime had cited Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which he said required that the agencies must attach the details of their budgets to the national budget for consideration by the National Assembly.
He noted that rather than comply with the Act, the 2014 budget only came with the “abridged version” of the budget of the agencies without the details.
Jime had stated that the House would be breaking the law by going ahead to debate the budget.
In a bid to douse the tension, the Speaker, Mr. AminuTambuwal, had named a six-member advisory committee to study the Act vis-a-vis the position of the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, John Enoh.
This, according to him, is to enable the House to move forward on the issue.
Enoh, a PDP lawmaker, had argued that it was the responsibility of standing committees overseeing the agencies to call for the budget details if they so wished.
Findings indicated that the agencies budget details were “hurriedly” distributed to lawmakers between Wednesday last week and Monday (yesterday).
Investigations by The PUNCH showed that lawmakers considered the move as an attempt to preempt the report of the committee.
The committee is set to submit its report on Tuesday (today) to the House to decide whether to debate the national budget of N4.6tn.
Sources close to the committee confided in our correspondent that the agencies planned to spend a whopping N12tn this year on their operations.