NASS Committees Lack Powers to Approve Budgets for NNPC, CBN, Customs, Others – Presidency

OrderPaperToday – Standing committees of the National Assembly superintending over Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) lack the powers to approve their budgets.

This is the position of the presidency which also announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2016 Budget of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into law.

In a statement Wednesday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, the presidency listed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Customs Service, and parastatals under the Ministry of Aviation among a total of 29 agencies that must have their annual budgets presented to the National Assembly by the President.

Noting that the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 requires that the Budget of the concerned agencies “be laid before the Assembles by Mr. President, in addition to, and independent of the annual Appropriation Act,” Enang said “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” because “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.”

According to the statement, arguments to the effect that the budgets of the MDAs have been scrutinized and approved by the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives do not hold water in line with Section 62(4) of the Constitution which states that “nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing 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 the provisions of this Constitution, but the committee may be authorised to make recommendations to the House on any such matter. “

Mr. Enang said the new regime of budgetary approval by the Buhari administration 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.”

Furthermore, he said the move will increase non – oil Revenue internally generated as the agencies are under the law to keep 20% their operational surplus and remit 80% to the Federal Government and “ensure that no revenue is hidden because of the eagle eye of the approving National Assembly.”

The other agencies affected are the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation; Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE); Nigerian Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure; Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF); Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).

Others are National Maritime Authority (NMA);  Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMADC); National Sugar Development Council (NSDC); Nigerian Postal Service (NPS); Nigerian Mining Corporation; Nigeria Re-insurance; Nigerdock Nigeria Plc; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NAICOM); Nigeria Re-insurance Corporation; Nigerian Telecommunication;  National Automotive Council; Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation; and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC).

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