By Haruna Salami
Senate says it will not tolerate lackadaisical attitude from government functionaries in all Ministries, Departments And Agencies (MDAs) in relations to issues surrounding their defenses submissions, given resolve to maintain Jan – Dec budget cycle.
President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio gave the warning at a one day retreat on 2024 Appropriation Bill.
The retreat, organised by the Senate Committee on Appropriations has as theme “Budget and Budgetary Processes: Delivering improved outcome of 2024 Appropriation Bill”.
Akpabio, represented by Deputy President of Senate, Barau Jibril, said the consequences of sabotaging the envisaged passage of the 2024 budget by any top official of any MDA, may not be palatable for the official or agency in the eventual passage of 2024 Appropriation Bill.
He said the 2024 appropriation bill was undoubtedly an event of significant national importance.
He said 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 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.
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 confident 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”.
Akpabio urged stakeholders to be open-minded, honest and factual in their deliberations, saying that there was need to understand that Nigerian’s have a common goal, which was to drastically improve socio-economic condition of the people in the shortest period with the budget of renewed hope.
He expressed confident that the retreat would be a productive one.
Prof. Ayo Teriba, a resource person and an economist from University of Ibadan, who delivered the Keynote lecture on identification of processes to guide the desired achievement in 2024 budget, gave an appraisal of 2023 budget appraisal and 2024 proposal.
He said the attainment and surpassing of the revenue for 2023 as at September was unprecedented and a great achievement for the current administration.
This, he said was an indication that the projected N18trillion expected revenue in the 2024 budget was realistic.
Teriba also advised that tax revenue generation should not be the main focus of government toward revenue generation.
Teriba said efforts should be tailored on leveraging on non tax revenue, asset revenue generation, with specific areas to attract foreign direct investments to increase revenue streams to the nation.
He said every MDAs need to develop a workable window for creating opportunities for inflow of domestic and foreign direct investments for sustainable revenue generation.
According to him, every MDA should know and understand the processes to reassure investors of risks mitigation.
This, he said would result in business deals that would ultimately yield the desired finances for the nation’s budgetary needs.
Teriba said that there was need for more improvements of the capital component of the budget and improve on its asset, and attract foreign direct investment.
Earlier, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Solomon Adeola, said the retreat would afford stakeholders the opportunity to contribute meaningfully toward the realisation of the renewed hope budget 2024.
He said the National Assembly was committed to ensuring that there was value for every fund appropriated in 2024 budget.