By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Assembly to quickly pass the statutory budget for federal government Corporations and agencies.
Among corporations and agencies numbering 29, whose budget requires passage are the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Inland Service and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Making the call yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enag, while briefing journalists stated that “it is a requirement of the law that the National Assembly as a legislative body should consider and pass the budget of each of them.”
According to Enang, the urgent need for the passage of the budget for corporations and agencies is imperative because the total expenditure of the their collective budgets amount to the amount spent annually by the country.
He added that passing the budget of government corporations would also create and open up employment opportunities in different agencies and parastatals.
He noted that the Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act, which has been assented to by President Buhari will create job opportunities in formal and informal sectors of the economy.
He said: “The Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act, 2016 passed by the National Assembly has been assented to by Mr. President.
“The legal implantation of the Budget, therefore comes into effect, which will result in employment in the formal sectors, and informal sectors through projects implementation and employment there from arising.
“Some Nigerians have asked questions as to the legal and Legislative grounds for the laying of the Budget of Statutory Corporations before the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 requires that the Budget of the Agencies among others be laid before the Assembles by Mr. President, in addition to, and independent of the annual Appropriation Act.
“The rationale are: It is a requirement of the law that the National Assembly as a Legislative body should consider and pass the Budget of each of them.
“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 parastals and the new employable vacancies are determined by the Budgetary requirement of the Agencies as will be approval by the National Assembly. Therefore the other rationale for this is to create, regulate and open up employment in the different parastals.
“It is also to stimulate the economy, in that there are so many capital project in the parastals which when approved by the National Assembly, the parastals will award thus releasing money and stimulate spends into 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 her 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% their operational surplus and remit 80% to the Federal Government,” Senator Enang stated.