From JOSHUA I. EGBODO, Abuja
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has written the National Assembly, seeking the approval of a supplementary budget totaling 161.6 billion Naira to settle accumulated fuel subsidy arrears owed oil marketers.
However, with just 20 days to go in the 2012 fiscal year, the House of Representatives yesterday took a resolution that it must ensure that the 2012 Appropriation Act be fully implemented.
To this end, the House has mandated its Committees on Finance and Appropriation to compile and present a comprehensive report on the revenues, expenditures, and any unforeseen savings in the 2012 budget implementation, and carve out a solution on the outstanding capital releases in the 2012 budget with a view to ensuring its full implementation. The committees were given one week to turn in the report.
A member of the House, Abdulrahman Terab had in a motion moved under matters of urgent public importance expressed concerns that revenue “receipts so far for 2012, confirmed to be higher than what was projected for the 2012 fiscal regime,” but that “the fourth quarter capital releases made to MDAs just this December despite being inadequate on the percentage of budget implementation, were found to be inconsistent.”
Jonathan in a letter addressed to Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and read to members at plenary yesterday explained that as part of the 20I2 Budget framework, a provision of 888.I billion Naira was made for payment of fuel subsidy for the nation, but that following the forensic audit carried out, the provision for fuel subsidy in the 2012 Budget was underestimated.
According to the President, “As at now, the sum of 880,264,243,683.61 Naira has been paid out, leaving a balance of 7,735,756,316.39 Naira. In order to accommodate the outstanding arrears resulting from the forensic audit exercise and the remaining period of the year 2012, an additional sum of 161,617,364,911 over and above what was programmed to the 2012 framework is required.
He added that “given the need to maintain a steady flow of petroleum products, especially to the run-up to the festive season, it is my hope that the Honourable members will kindly accord this request their traditional expeditious consideration and approval.”
Terab while leading debate on his motion further argued that various sums of money saved from recovery exercises, non oil excess revenues, and the 2012 unspent revenues and others like the Pension Reform and fake subsidy claims were neither captured in the 2013 budget proposals, and that neither were they provided as opening balances in the 2013 expenditure accounts.
“The executive once blamed its poor releases and subsequent implementation on constituency projects where monies were appropriated for basic grassroots social services like water, roads, schools & hospitals. This is rather unfortunate. Most, if not all capital projects captured in the 2012 appropriation will hence forth remain abandoned resulting in the waste of all the resources that we have labored to commit,” he stated.
Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Mr. John Enoh and his Finance’s counterpart, Abdulmumin Jibril also in their separate contributions called for urgent action on the matter, as such issues of poor implementation may crop into the 2013 fiscal year if not resolved.
Jibril reiterated that all revenue generation agencies have continued to meet their monthly targets through the year.
From JOSHUA I. EGBODO, Abuja