Nigeria’s 10th Senate says it will not tolerate lackadaisical attitude from government functionaries in all Ministries, Departments And Agencies (MDAs) about issues surrounding their defence submissions, given the resolve to maintain the Jan – Dec budget cycle.
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio gave the warning at a one-day retreat on the 2024 Appropriation Bill in Abuja.
The retreat, organized by the Senate Committee on Appropriations as the theme Retreat “Budget and Budgetary Processes: Delivering Improved Outcome of 2024 Appropriation Bill.
Senator Akpabio, represented by Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibril, said the consequences of sabotaging the envisaged passage of the 2024 budget by any top official of any MDAs may not be palatable for the official or agency in the eventual passage of the 2024 Appropriation Bill.
He said the 2024 appropriation bill was undoubtedly an event of significant national importance, even as he added that the importance was rooted in the fact that it was another step in the 10th National Assembly’s commitment to ensuring an all-inclusive budget process for the greater national good and achieve the nation’s commitment to Jan – Dec budget cycle.
He commended the Chairman and members of the appropriations committee, to open up the 2024 budget process for stakeholders’ engagement and feedback through the one-day retreat.
Senator Akpabio said stakeholders gathered were in the business of making sacrifices on behalf of the people and committed to brainstorming, researching and proffering various suggestions and solutions on behalf of the Nigerian populace.
He expressed confidence that such continuous partnership and deliberations would add substantial value to the nation’s legislative work of enacting laws for good governance and the interest of our people.
He also commended all relevant state and non-state actors for their interests and sacrifices in ensuring that the participatory processes of public engagements, geared towards a better outcome of the law-making are smoothly executed.
“We understand that the budget is about fiscal targets, resource allocation, public expenditure policy, productivity and efficiency. We also understand that the process is one of passage, mobilisation and execution, as well as, effective monitoring and evaluation” he said.
The Nigerian Senate President urged the stakeholders to be open-minded, honest and factual in their deliberations, saying that there was a need to understand that Nigerians have a common goal, which was to drastically improve the socio-economic condition of the people in the shortest period with a budget of renewed hope.
He expressed confidence that the retreat would be a productive one.
A resource person and an economist from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Professor Ayo Teriba who delivered a short lecture on the identification of processes to guide the desired achievement in the 2024 budget, gave an appraisal of the 2023 budget appraisal and 2024 proposal.
He said the attainment and surpassing of the revenue of 2023 as of September was unprecedented and a great achievement for the current administration.
This, he said, was an indication that the projected N18 trillion expected revenue in the 2024 budget was realistic.
Professor Teriba also advised that tax revenue generation should not be the main focus of government toward revenue generation but efforts should be tailored to leveraging on non-tax revenue, and asset revenue generation, with specific areas to attract foreign direct investments to increase revenue streams to the nation.
He said every MDA needs to develop a workable window for creating opportunities for the inflow of domestic and foreign direct investments for sustainable revenue generation.
According to him, every MDAs should know and understand the processes to reassure investors of risk mitigation.
This, he said, would result in business deals that would ultimately yield the desired finances for the nation’s budgetary needs.
Tariba said that there was a need for more improvements in the capital component of the budget, improvement on its assets, and attracting foreign direct investment.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Sen.Solomon Adeola, said the retreat would allow stakeholders to contribute meaningfully toward the realization of the renewed hope budget 2024.
He said the National Assembly was committed to ensuring that there was value for every fund appropriated in the 2024 budget