The Senate on Wednesday asked 63 agencies and parastatals under the Federal Government to submit details of their proposed 2018 budgets within one week or risk sanctions.
The Senate at the plenary said while President Muhammadu Buhari had complied with the law by laying the 2018 Appropriation Bill along with details of estimates before the lawmakers, agencies of the government had disregarded the law.
Raising a point of order, the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that only one out of 64 agencies had submitted its budget details.
Lawan said, “I came on this particular order because of the budgets of agencies of the Federal Government.
“Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria submitted the national budget as well as the summary of the budgets of the agencies. By so doing, he has completed his work.
“What is required of the agencies is for them to present the details of their agencies.
“My office has been working closely with the Office of (Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters — Senate) Senator Ita Enang.
“We have insisted that the details of the budgets of the agencies must be presented to the Senate so that we can consider them together with the main budget.
“We believe that the 2018 budgets, either for the ministries or the agencies, should be passed as quickly as we can, and together.”
The Majority Leader made reference to a newspaper advertisement sponsored by Enang on February 7, 2018, in which the presidential aide called the attention of all the 64 agencies that they must submit the details of their budgets to him (Enang) for onward transmission to this Senate.
Lawan said, “So far, only one (of them) has submitted. I want this Senate to recognise that the Nigerian Communications Commission presented and submitted what was required. It is a very good example of what we are asking for.
“I want this Senate to give an ultimatum of one week to all the remaining agencies within which to submit the details of their budgets for our committees to consider the appropriations for 2018. I believe that it is possible and it not supposed to be difficult.”
In his ruling, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, condemned the agencies for their non-cooperation with the lawmakers.
He said the parliament would be forced to move against the bodies if they failed to meet up with the deadline.
Saraki said, “This has been a matter that we’ve been talking about for a very long time and these agencies continue to have total disregard for due process.
“I really find it difficult to understand where the head of the Executive arm, Mr. President, is doing things properly, and agencies underneath just do things in the wrong way.
“The SA to the President has even gone far to put an advert in the paper. So, I think it is very clear that we give them the mandate; we give to them one week.
“It is not that we don’t know what to do. Some of our cooperation should not be misread as weakness or not knowing what to do because definitely we can mandate the Ministry of Finance to ensure that they do not make further releases because they (the agencies) are breaking the law.
“We will give them one week and after that one week, if they don’t comply, then we will take the necessary actions to show that they need to comply with the law that guides them.”