Buhari signs N241.5b FCT budget

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2016 Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Appropriation Act, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, has said.

Enang said President Buhari assented to the N241.5 billion 2016 FCT budget as passed by the National Assembly.

A statement by the presidential aide did not, however, say when the fiscal document was assented to.

Enang said: “The legal implantation of the budget, therefore comes into effect, which will result in employment in the formal sectors, and informal sectors through project implementation and employment.”

 On statutory corporations and agencies, Enang said some Nigerians queried why budgets of statutory corporations were laid before the National Assembly.

He said the President directed that budgets of listed agencies be laid before the National Assembly in line with the Fiscal Resposibility Act 2007, in addition to, and independent of the annual Appropriation Act.

Enang listed the agencies as Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigeria Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigeria Shippers Council, National Maritime Authority, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, National Sugar Development Council, Nigerian Postal Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and Nigeria Mining Corporation.

Others are Nigeria Re-insurance, Nigerdock Nigeria Plc, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria, Nigeria Re-insurance Corporation, Nigeria Telecommunications, National Automotive Council, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, National Communications Commission, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Central Bank of Nigeria, among others.

He explained that this is a requirement of the law that the National Assembly should consider and pass such budgets.

“It is what is spent in the national budget together with the totality of the expenditure of the collective of the government corporations that amount to the total annual expenditure of the country.

“The vacancies created by retirement in each of these parastatals and the new employable vacancies are determined by the budgetary requirement of the agencies as will be approved by the National Assembly.

“Therefore, the other rationale for this is to create, regulate and open up employment in the different parastatals.

“ It is also to stimulate the economy, in that there are so many capital projects in the parastatals which, when approved by the National Assembly, the parastatals will award, thus releasing money and stimulate spending in the economy.

“It will also ensure accountability by the corporations because they will only raise and spend as approved by the National Assembly and will increase activism of the National Assembly in its oversight responsibility because they will be overseeing implementation as approved, and know surplus revenue to capture for subsequent years, appropriations.

“It will increase non-oil revenue internally generated. The agencies are under the law to keep 20 per cent of their operational surplus and remit 80 per cent to the Federal Government.

“This process of appropriation will ensure that no revenue is hidden because of the eagle eye of the approving National Assembly.”

On questions that some  budgets were already approved by legislative committees, Enang said it was not allowed by the Constitution.

The presidential aide quoted Section 62(4) of the Constitution: “ Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorising such House to delegate to a committee the power to decide whether a bill shall be passed into law or to determine any matter which it is empowered to determine by resolution under provisions of this Constitution, but the committee may be authorised to make recommendations to the House on any such matter.”

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