The Senate has frowned on the breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) by government agencies, which have failed to submit their 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
Some of the agencies include the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who raised the point of order at plenary on Tuesday said it was an offence for such agencies to spend any money yet to be appropriated by the National Assembly.
“The only approach this Senate can take to assist this government in fighting corruption is to insist that gross abuse and misuse of power must be stopped by every government agency.
“The only way we can build our institutions is to radically address the issue of abuse and misuse of power,” he said.
Na’Allah sought permission to raise the matter as a motion tomorrow for debate among the lawmakers.
Ruling on the point of order, Senate President Bukola Saraki condemned the practice whereby government agencies spent money without statutory approval by the legislature.
“We are already in May. How can parastatals be operating without any budgets, especially at this time in the fight against corruption and effort to entrench transparency in governance?
“We need to take this matter seriously, because clearly these agencies are just flouting the guidelines and breaking the law,” he said.
Saraki added that the agencies were supposed to have submitted their budgets since August 2016, in line with the FRA.
“They are supposed to have come with their appropriation documents. We have now passed the 2017 budget without the budgets of the parastatals.
“But if in the middle of May, we are saying we have not received any budget from them, then which money have they been spending and with whose authority?
“We need to look into that and take a decision that may be they can only pay salaries until they bring their budgets here and approvals are given,” Saraki added.