By Okey Ndiribe & Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA – As indications emerged that Federal Government may have released additional funds to ministries, departments and agencies for the implementation of the 2012 budget, Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Isiaka Bawa, yesterday declared that the lower chamber’s first duty upon resumption next month would be to ensure that all funds so far released by the Presidency were cross-checked to ensure compliance with the Budget Act as passed by the National Assembly.
Bawa, who made this disclosure in a chat with Vanguard, said: “We shall cross-check the released chart line by line to ascertain whether there is full compliance.”
He added that Nigerians had the right to know how all the funds appropriated by the National Assembly were being released and managed.
Bawa said: “It is a sad development that at this time of the year, the implementation of the budget is still far less than 40 percent. The House is not out to witch-hunt anybody, but to perform its constitutional role of adequately representing Nigerians that sent us here.”
Also, last Sunday, Spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of execution of the 2012 Appropriation Act.
The Senate also threatened to summon the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, if she fails to appear before the Senate Committee on Appropriation today.
Mohammed said: “First, it is not true that the executive arm has implemented as at today 56% of the 2012 budget as widely reported. In truth, only about 34% of the budget has been implemented.
“What the minister admitted to was that at best, government had implemented 56% of the N404 billion released to MDAs.”