Osun Speaker Harps On Hardwork, Revenue Generation

  • As Agencies Complete 2018 Budget Defence

Speaker, State of Osun House of Assembly, Hon Najeem Salaam has urged Civil servants to be patient with government and work hard to improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State.

In a publication, an online Group promoting the activities of the State Government of Osun, Progressives e-Group says it is a tradition for State House of Assembly to receive Budget of each Agency of Government and also allow them to justify every dime they plan to spend for the year before the House.

This exercise which started some weeks ago in the State of Osun House Of Assembly, where Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the state  presented and defended their Budget came to an end on Tuesday.

The final Budget Defence session was attended by Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaj Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola, Head of Service, Dr Olowogboyega Oyebade, Commissioner for Budget and Planning Dr Yunus Ismail and the Acting Chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service, Mr Bicci Ali.

The Speaker, Hon Najeem Salaam in his message charged the State Civil Servants to work assiduously to ensure that the budget is achieved.

He hinted that Revenue is the soul of Budget in any State, and once they achieve the targeted Revenue, it is sure that their welfare will be taken care of immediately and that once there is more money in government’s purse, nothing will delay their entitlements.

He urged them to be patient with the government, as it is not relenting in sourcing for funds to cater for their welfare.

The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola in his remarks, appreciated the State House of Assembly for their unflinching support for the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the state in general, just as he urged them to be more committed to the cause they have chosen.

The Head of Service, Dr Oyebade Olowogboyega appreciated the Governor for releasing funds for the payment of Pensions and gratuities of the retired Civil Servants in the State. He also prayed that all other outstanding entitlements will be addressed as soon as possible.

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Dr Olalekan Yinusa while defending the Budget, said the state will increase the IGR with various Programmes and activities as stated in the 2018 Budget.

In his words, the acting Chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service, Mr Bicci Alli urged the populace to be more committed to remittance of their dues, as this will enable government of thesState to meet the needs of the people as and when due.

Amaechi, Lawmakers Clash Over 2018 Budget Figures

Lawmakers at the National Assembly, the Minster of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday disagreed over figures presented in the 2018 Budget of the ministry.

The disagreement was sequel to the visit of the Minister of Tranportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, to the Senate Wing of the National Assembly, who appeared before a joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport Transport Chaired by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, at the National Assembly to defend his Ministry’s budget proposal for 2018.

While the session was ongoing, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport, Hon Adesegun Adekoya, representing Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East/Ogun Waterside under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), showed displeasure over the figures rolled out by Ameachi.

Adekoya, raised a point of order requesting that the Honourable Minister be placed on oath, alleging that the Minister had released figures filled with discrepancies at the 2017 budget defence.

In his words “Mr. Chairman sir, Point of Order, I want to request that the Honourable Minister be placed on oath sir. I need to be sure that the figures he is giving us today are the genuine figures, not like what transpired last year when we were told that counterpart funding for Lagos – Ibadan is N60 Billion Naira and the Ministry went on to receive N75Billion for the same project, without the necessary appropriation for the excess N15 Billion.”

While this ensued into a heated exchange of words between Amaechi and Hon. Adeoya, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ashafa pointed out that it was against parliamentary procedure to place anybody on oath except during an investigative hearing.

Immediately calm was restored, Amaechi, in a swift response, explained that the extra N12Billion Naira required for counterpart funding of the Lagos to Ibadan segment of the Lagos – Kano Railway Modernisation Project was not received and as such, he notified the Ministry of Finance to withhold disbursement of the sum till the 2017 Appropriation was passed into law.

Tambuwal Signs Sokoto’s 2018 Budget

 
Governor Aminu Tambuwal on Wednesday signed into law, the Sokoto 2018 budget which was recently passed by the State House of Assembly.
 
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Government House in Sokoto, Tambuwal said the of N220.5 billion document will be implemented optimally for the benefit of the citizenry.
 
He despite despite challenges in meeting revenue targets in the past years, the government is hopeful of performing to expectation in the implementation of the 2018 fiscal document.
 
“We are aware that the legislature has not tinkered with the overall budget size even though they have reallocated some resources to different sub heads, we are happy with that.
 
“We believe it is within the purview of your rights as legislators to do what you have done and we will implement the as passed,” the Governor added.
 
While commending the lawmakers for a thorough job on the budget document, Tabuwal msaid it is gratifying to note that the relationship between the executive and the legislature in Sokoto has continued to blossom.
 
“This has helped in strengthening democracy in the state. The people should know that our relationship is not a master-servant relationship, but one based on mutual trust and respect for the two arms of government,” he stated.
 
In his remarks, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Salihu Maidaji, said the legislature is satisfied with the performance of the state budget in 2017.
 
He urged the state government to strenghten the internal revenue board by providing logistics for enhanced performance.
 
He said the the Assembly will work with the executive to repeal obsolete revenue laws hampering drive at effective revenue mobilisation in the state.
  
Highlights of the budget include the setting aside of 69.9 percent, or N152.8, for capital expenditure while the sum of N67.6 billion, representing over 30 percent, was set aside for recurrent expenditure.
 
And for the third year running, Education sector got the highest allocation with 26.1 percent of the total budget sum, followed by Health sector which got the sum of N20.932 billion, Agriculture got the third highest allocation with N16.535 billion.
Similarly, the sum N14.255 billion allocated to Works and Transport while Lands, Housing and Survey got the sum of N11.560 billion.

Gaidam Signs 2018 Budget Into Law

The Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, has signed the 2018 budget into law.

Assenting to the bills at the Government House in Damaturu the Yobe state capital, Governor Gaidam said the bills provide for a total expenditure of N92,182,336,000 and remain the same as presented except for some internal adjustments made thereby decreasing the allocation for recurrent services and increasing allocation of the funds earmarked for the execution of capital projects.

The recurrent expenditure of the assented bill according to the governor has been raised to N46, 753, 805, 000, 00 by the state assembly while the sum of N45, 428, 531, 000, 00 is an earmark for capital expenditure and thanks members for the adjustments and expeditious work on the bills.

“This implies that the budget size as presented remains the same except for some internal adjustments made thereby decreasing the allocation for recurrent services and increasing the allocation of the funds earmarked for the execution of the capital programmes”

The budget he said is geared towards service delivery assuring that his administration will continue to evoke ways that will enhance the development of the state.

“During the 2018 fiscal year, we will continue to implement our planned programme to build on the successes recorded in the previous budgets since our assumption of office nine years ago”

Governor Gaidam also said his administration will step up efforts in revenue generation and remittance to ensure the budget is effectively financed.

“In order to ensure greater successes in the mobilisation of funds, we will give renewed emphasis to our drive for enhancing revenue generation through effective monitoring of internal Revenue collection and remittance,” the governor said.

The Speaker of the State Assembly Adamu Dala-Dogo applauded the focus of the budget which according to him is aimed at addressing the pathetic problems of the internally displaced persons as well as provides more infrastructure, job and wealth creation for the people.

“We expeditiously worked on this budget to ensure its implementation in view of the fact that it will address the problems of the IDPs as well as provides more developmental projects to the people of the state,” the Speaker said.

The asserting of the bills was graced by some members of the National Assembly from the state and beyond as well as politicians and top government functionaries among others.

2018 Budget May Not Be Ready In First Quarter

Some lawmakers have confirmed that not only has the much-anticipated resetting of the budget’s life cycle from January to December failed, the 2018 budget may not be passed in the first quarter of the new year.

Citing serious cases of lack of co-ordination and incompetence in the executive, the senators were frank about the fact that until a more pro-active approach was applied to budget planning, the nation’s budget woes would continue.

Already, the Senate has mooted the idea of extending the life cycle of the 2017 budget to March 2018, to allow the executive cover enough grounds in its implementation particularly in terms of capital projects.

The plan would also afford the National Assembly enough time to do a sector-by-sector consideration of the 2018 budget proposal. The Upper Legislative Chamber is still observing its End of Year and Christmas recess, and would resume plenary on January 16.

A member of the Senate Appropriation Committee, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, disclosed in a brief interview that so far, not much work has been done on the budget proposal because what the Presidency submitted last October as 2018 budget estimates grossly fell short of every standard expected of such a document across the world.

He lamented that the two-week plenary-free budget consideration period that the Senate gave all lawmakers and committees, between December 5 and 19, only served the purpose of exposing the weaknesses and failures of government in implementing the 2017 budget.

According to Ibrahim, “The basic principles of budgeting were discarded by the executive as far as the 2018 budget processing is concerned. It means the National Assembly would have to prepare for more budget work than it expected when we return in January since the executive has failed in doing its responsibility. It also means that the budget document cannot be expected to be passed as earlier scheduled. That is, in January.

“We are working towards getting it passed within the first quarter of 2018, and push it to the Presidency. And you know that it will take the Presidency some time to study and sign the document too,” the lawmaker added.

When reached for comments on the fate of the 2018 budget, Senator Solomon Adeola blamed the problems on the failure of the executive to do a good job in budget preparations and implementation.

He wondered why the Senate should consider and approve the 2018 budget, when the performance of the 2017 budget is unknown.

He stated: “How can we approve the 2018 budget without knowing the performance of the 2017 budget? This is abnormal. From the recent budget defences, it is obvious that MDAs are not ready. Year in, year out, the budget performance is low. We have had an occasion where a minister was asked to excuse lawmakers because he did not come prepared. He did not come with the necessary documents to defend the budget of his ministry.”

He disclosed that despite the fact that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was submitted three months later than what the Fiscal Responsibility Act stipulates, the executive even had to withdraw and later resubmitted it because of some fundamental inadequacies.

“Remember that the executive not only submitted the MTEF late, it withdrew it again. This shows lack of seriousness on the part of economic managers of the country.”

Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, had captured the frustration faced by the National Assembly in these words: “When we suspended plenary for two weeks, the intention was to enable the committees to work. They are supposed to report progress in order to enable the Senate to pass the budget before the end of the year or early next year.

“When we suspended plenary, it was with the idea that the committees will swing into action so we can have a tentative date to pass the budget. From what I have seen, we might run into troubled waters. If we have not appreciated what the problems are, it is important for Nigerians to be made to understand what the problem is.”

Lawal continued: “The template we are using will continue to create problems for us. The template cannot work in our country today. From reports we have had, it is obvious that we have problems. We need to know what the problems are. If we have a 2017 budget that has not been executed today and we are considering the 2018 budget, it means there is a problem.”

Lamenting the Presidency’s failure to keep to its words in the implementation of the 2017 budget, Lawal said: “The President told us that the 2017 budget was going to achieve at least 40 per cent performance. Today, that has not happened. We need to lay this issue and discuss it. Let us put the facts before the executive and show Nigerians the difficulties we are facing.”

And as the Upper Chamber was formally closing legislative activities for the year, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, voiced out how hopeless getting the country out of the perennial budget tragedy has become.

“Truly, it is very disheartening and disappointing because we know how much we have put into the budget process. How can anybody who is responsible travel at this period when the budget defence is ongoing?

“The budget has not been implemented. We cannot be magicians. We just have to work and give a good budget to Nigerians. The executive really needs to sit up. If they refuse to roll over the 2017 projects into 2018, it is a disaster,” he concluded.

Aregbesola Presents 2018 Budget To Osun Assembly On Thursday

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola will tomorrow, Thursday present the budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year to the state House of Assembly for scrutiny and approval in line with Section 121 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A statement by Mr Adelani Baderinwa, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy says the presentation of the 2018 Budget proposal by Aregbesola is peculiar being the last by his administration in a glorious two terms adventure in government of the State of Osun with a legacy that may be difficult to surpass soon and will definitely outlive Ogbeni Aregbesola himself.

According to Baderinwa, the budget is expected to capture the essence of governance and billed to be the crowning glory of the last previous years of Aregbesola’s administration which is already a success with a legacy of good governance.

He said the budget also comes with the ability of setting progress march of clear socio-economic agenda for a worthy successor for the good of the people and the state.

The statement said “Ogbeni Aregbesola is thus personally inviting all the elites, leading lights in the socio-economic life of the state, bankers, economists Non-Governmental Organizations, religious leaders, traditional rulers, leaders of artisans and all stakeholders to the Budget proposal presentation.”

“All Executive Secretaries in all the Local Governments and Development Area and Council Areas are expected to attend as a matter of duty and mobilize their constituents to the State of Osun House of Assembly to the event.”

“Financial experts, political functionaries and other stakeholders in the state of Osun are invited to grace the occasion which takes place by 10:00am tomorrow,” Baderinwa stressed.

Senate Passes 2018 Budget For 2nd Reading, Suspends Plenary For 2 Weeks

The Senate has raised the oil benchmark for the 2018 budget from the $45 per barrel as proposed by the Federal Government to $47.

The Senate took the decision at the plenary on Tuesday, after the consideration and adoption of the report by its Joint Committee on Finance, Appropriations, and National Planning and Economic Affairs on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The Senate also passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill for second reading.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Appropriations for further legislative action.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly however adjourned plenary to December 19, 2017, to allow the standing committees to hold budget defence sessions for federal ministries, departments and agencies.

Kanu’s Surety, Sen Abaribe Calls 2018 Budget “Fictitious”

The Nigerian Senate was on Tuesday thrown into a noisy session when Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) said the 2018 budget was “fictitious” and “dead on arrival”.

The Senator made the comment as the Senate opened debate on the 2018 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“What we debate usually is the general principles. What are we debating about a document that is totally fictitious?” he said.

His statement prompted the leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe North), to come under section 53(7) of the senate rule to caution his colleague.

He said, “It shall be out of order to use offensive and inventive language. Mr President, to call a document that the president of the federal republic of Nigeria presented to the National Assembly fictitious is improper and unparliamentary.”

The warning however did not deter Mr. Abaribe as he continued by quoting the leader of the Senate in his speech.

“Mr. President, quoting the Senate leader in his speech,” he said, “the 2018 budget is designed to consolidate on the achievements of the 2016 and the 2017 budgets.

“What was done in 2017 when less than 15% of that budget was released?

Nothing was done. That is why I call it fictitious. I’m very sorry if that is the word he is bothered about. I withdraw the word fictitious and say that this is totally imaginary.

“Because nothing was done in 2017. That is a fact that we all know,” he said.

 

“Without going into the debate and the specifics, I can also say this: in the leader’s speech, he said ‘there was so much money that was received in 2017 and therefore there’s an estimate of N11 trillion to be gotten…and we know that as at last week, the total receivables that this government got was one-tenth of what was stated publicly.

 

“(Out of) the budget in 2017 of eight hundred and sixty something billion to be received, what was received was 150 billion. In what sense will the 2018 budget be predicated on an assumption that the facts have already destroyed.

 

“You are assuming 11 trillion, yet you are getting less than 1 trillion. That is why I said, with all due respect to my colleagues, rather than continuing to this debate that has no basis in reality, we may just continue to beg this government to be very specific in the indication of the assumptions underlined in the budget.

Senate Suspends Debate On 2018 Budget

The Senate on Tuesday announced the deferment of debate on the 2018 budget submitted to the joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari about 2 weeks ago.

This is contrary to its earlier plan to commence debate on the general principles of the budget.

Senate President and leader of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki, made the announcement at the commencement of Tuesday’s legislative business.

He told the lawmakers that the deferment was done so as to enable the Upper Legislative Chamber pass the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), this week.

He also said that the deferment will allow the National Assembly’s bureaucracy distribute copies of the budget proposal to members of the House.

EDITORIAL: As FG Presents The 2018 Budget

If there is anything to be said of Tuesday’s laying of the estimates of next year’s budget at the National Assembly table, it is that the exercise may have finally responded to the imperative of the moment in terms of early preparation by the executive branch. As against last year when it was presented on December 14, 2016, barely 10 days to Christmas after which the lawmakers broke for their yuletide vacation, the expectations this time are of its early passage.

 

Just like last year’s, there is a lot of good things that can be said of the overall thrust of the budget. First is the size. Although, a far cry from what is required to match the yawning infrastructure deficit , the total figure – N8.612 trillion –a 16 per cent increase above the 2017 figure of N7.441 trillion– largely mirrors the expectations of Nigerians for a big pie to jumpstart the economy and now beginning to crawl out of a recession.

 

The second is its clear-headed realism.

 

As against last year’s benchmark price of $44.50 of crude oil per barrel, the federal government quite sensibly, put the reference price at $45. The same could be said of oil production with a modest increase of 100,000 barrels per day increase over the 2017 target of 2.2 million. In a topsy-turvy political economy of crude oil, it is the least the federal government can do to tamp down on expectations.

 

Third – and we consider this just as important – is the bold push to get big ticket projects ongoing. We refer to the Mambilla Hydro Power project, the power transmission projects, the railways and other critical projects designed to put the economy on a sustainable path of growth. All of these are, no doubt, important to give the economy the much needed fillip. How far the federal government can deliver on these as well as bring to completion, on-going projects, particularly those to be rolled over from previous years will go a long way to determine its overall efficacy as a governance instrument.

 

Of course, we must in equal measure admit to some of the flaws that have since become a recurring feature of the budgetary process. One of these is the disproportionate allocation to recurrent expenditures particularly the huge wage bill and the other costs of running the government on one hand and the humongous cost of debt servicing on the other. Although, a vast improvement from what obtained in the past, that the federal government would spend two-thirds of the entire budget on running the bureaucracy and the government continues to be a measure of how skewed the exercise is. Were things to be normal, it should be the other way round.

 

As it is, the ball is now in the court of the National Assembly. In other words, the real job has only just begun. A good way to start is to inquire how the 2017 budget went. What is the state of implementation? What are the challenges? Were the revenue targets met, if not why not? Admittedly, the President alluded to the shortfall during his presentation. Nigerians of course deserve to know the specifics – which ministries, departments and agencies were involved and what is being done about it. This process must go with the understanding that the era when agencies earned the revenue and spent as they liked is gone forever.

 

And what do Nigerians want from the budget?

 

Most certainly – it is nothing of the arcane world of esoteric figures that the budget has come to represent and which have come to mean nothing in practical terms to the man on the street. For the ordinary citizen, they want to see the living proof of the budget in the visible improvements to their lives and living conditions: in good roads, in vastly improved security environment, in cheap and efficient public transportation system, and steady electricity supply to their homes and businesses. To the extent that an early passage of the budget can only be a good step towards delivering on those objectives, the National Assembly has a bounden duty to make it happen. And urgently too.

 

Buhari To Present 2018 Budget November 7

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to grant him the slot of November 7 to present the 2018 budget estimates to the joint sitting of both Senate and House of Representatives members.

The president’s letter was read by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.

In the letter, President Buhari hinted that the budget would be presented by 2pm on the said date.

There was, however, a mild drama on the floor of the House when some members from the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, told the Speaker that he mentioned “2017” instead of “2018”.

This forced the Speaker to read the letter again to the hearing of the lawmakers.

Afterward, the shout of no, no rented the air but the Speaker told his colleagues that “we don’t have the constitutional power to say no”.

In another development, the Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market and other institutions, Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf submitted a petition from concerned Nigerians on the level of implementation of 2017 Appropriation Act.

 

Source: Tribune