*Yar’Adua to present 2010 budget Nov 19

By Tordue Salem

ABUJA—The Senate yesterday accused Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies of lack of capacity to implement the budget approved by the National Assembly.

The Senate declaration followed a closed door briefing by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Mansur Mukthar where it was disclosed that President Umaru Yar‘Adua would present the 2010 budget proposals to the National Assembly on November 19.

Besides, a supplementary budget to cater for the N200 billion amnesty programme in the Niger Delta was also being expected in the Senate.

Briefing newsmen, Senate spokesman Senator Ayogu Eze expressed frustration at the abysmal level of budget implementation by the presidency which he said was as low as 15% in several cases.

Affirming the readiness of the Senate to confront the challenge, he said the Senate would not be averse to a capacity building retreat for ministers and other heads of government agencies where they could be brushed up to implement the Federal Government budgets.

He said: “All of us agreed on one thing that the problem is with the civil servants and the political heads that are supervising them. There is absence of capacities in the MDAs to implement budgets or appropriations that they asked for every year.

This is one thing that came through and it was the suggestion of our colleagues that they should organise some form of retreat or workshop for heads of MDAs and their subordinates so that they can acquire and brush up their skills.’’

Senator Eze also faulted the Due Process office for the poor budget implementation, saying that Senators described the agency as the delay process office.

“It is no longer an office that facilitates the process and award of contracts, it has become, in the opinion of senators, a cog in the administration of contracts.”

Noting the need for a supplementary budget and the virement of funds from the 2009 Federal Government budget, he said the provisions would be used to provide for the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region.

…As Bankole blames poor budget implementation on civil servants

By James Ezena

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole has exonerated the executive over non-implementation of budgets and placed the blame on the civil servants, saying that even when contracts had been approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) and fund released, the bureaucrats still find ways of not releasing funds for contracts awarded.

His reaction followed recent media reports on the House of Representatives consideration of the “Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (Revised) for 2010 –– 2012” to the effect that the Speaker  ‘indicted’ the executive and the former speaker, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari on the issue of non-implementation of budgets.

The Special Adviser to Speaker, Media, Ebomhiame Musa, in a statement said  Bankole exonerated the executive and the legislature from blame on non implementation of budget under the current dispensation.

Bankole said: “Now, it is obvious that the civil service is the problem. The records are very clear that the question of output (release of funds) had been significantly solved but it is now a question of desired and expected outcomes of the budget. The engine room of government, which is the civil service, has not performed.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.