By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, formally joined issues with National Assembly over its allegation that Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, were not coming forward to defend the 2018 budget, thereby delaying its passage.
Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, in a statement made available to Vanguard last night, rejected the claim made by the lawmakers, saying none of the MDAs had withheld any budget information from National Assembly since the president had laid all the required information before the legislature on November 7 last year.
The Budget Office also made it clear that contrary to the impression being given by NASS that MDAs were not coming forward to defend their budgets, it was only the budget of Government-Owned Enterprises, GOE, that they needed to talk about if there was any need, since the GOE budgets were also attached by the president to the 2018 copy he presented to the lawmakers last year.
The Budget Office said: “The attention of the Budget Office of the Federation has been drawn to media reports suggesting that the FGN 2018 Budget was submitted to the National Assembly without details for some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“We have also received enquiries along same lines from concerned members of the public. It has, therefore, become necessary to clarify the facts regarding this matter.
“Mr. President submitted the budget with all the usual details required by NASS to process the budget.
“We would like to emphasize, for the avoidance of doubt, that on November 7, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari, as constitutionally stipulated, laid before the National Assembly (NASS) the Executive budget proposals for 2018 with all the usual details required by the National Assembly to process the budget.
“This included the details of the budgets of all federal MDAs based on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) budget templates.”