Monday, October 25, 2021

Babatunde Raji Fashola’s Alarm Over Ministry’s Budget

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The Minister of Power,Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has raised alarm over the insertion of projects outside the ministry in the 2017 Appropriation Act by the National Assembly.Fashola said it was unfair to the Executive arm of government to include such projects after public hearings on the budget and defense of the fiscal estimates by the ministries. Speaking to editors on Thursday,he said,“What I have in my budget now is boreholes and primary healthcare centres.That was the meeting we had with the Acting President and that was the reason why the budget was not signed on time. We were asked to complete those abandoned projects; the budget of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced by the National Assembly from N31bn to N10bn. We are owing the contractors about N15bn and they have written to us that they are going to shut down.”
“Also, the budget of the 2nd Niger bridge was reduced from N15bn to N10bn and about N3bn or so was removed from the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road budget.’ Everybody is complaining about power supply but they also cut the budget for Manbila power project and the Bodo bridge that connects the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Station was also cut and all these were also discussed. If after we have defended the budget and we had gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?’’
He further said it was unfair to Nigerians that after public hearings were conducted with taxpayers the budget was to be altered, cut or padded. The minister complained about the extra 100 roads added apart from the 200 uncompleted roads he inherited from the previous administration. “These roads are not federal roads and some of them do not have designs, how do we award roads that were not designed irrespective of the power you have? ” It is unconstitutional for the National Assembly to legislate on state roads.
“A budget is an estimation plan that set in motion what is to be spent, how much will be borrowed and how much will be collected.” The executive controls all the machinery for collecting taxes and other revenue with relevant data from the Ministries of Finance, Physical Planning and the Budget Office and others.He also said the National Assembly confirms ministerial nominees and justices of the courts who are in turn sworn-in by the executive. He urged the intervention of the judicial arm of government to set the necessary parameters and set things right.Further more, he blamed the electorate for pressure put on the lawmakers and expecting them to do what was outside their constitutional duties of law-making.
Photo Credit: Getty

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