By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The 2018 budget proposal of Niger State was finally passed into law by the State House of Assembly, three months after it was presented to the House by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello but not without knocks on the state executive arm over alleged ineptitude and poor procedure in appropriation.
The lawmakers criticised the haphazard and fire brigade approach method put in the preparation of the fiscal projection.
The lawmakers said there was no synergy between key ministries of budget and economic planning and the ministry of finance in the final outputs of the fiscal plan.
The House Committee on Appropriation said the poor way the appropriation was handled by the executive arm grossly manifested on the output of the fiscal projection and it therefore cautioned that immediate steps must be taken to guard against repeat of same in next year’s appropriation plan.
The Chairman House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Mohammed Bashir Lokogoma said at plenary that the current budget structure was haphazard and complicated which makes the appropriation document bogus and amophorous for understanding.
He recalled that the state governor had on the 14th of December last year presented the budget proposal before the House but regretted that perusing the document by the lawmakers have exposed lots of shabby work done by the executive arm in producing the appropriation plan.
He accused the executive arm of lumping allocations for capital expenditure without explanations and defense just as he noted that the practice sparks off suspicion as there is no evidence to support such allocations for scrutiny and auditing by the House.
Hon. Lokogoma adviced that the executive arm particularly the Ministries, Departments and Agencies should be more serious and painstaking in preparing budget appropriation.
”Henceforth, names of Ministries, Departments and Agencies,(MDA) in the state must be reflected for each fund appropriation for the purpose of probity, scrutiny and auditing for oversight.”
He said the time of the presentation of the budget proposal to the House was very late and he therefore attributed the late passage of the state’s 2018 budget to the time the document was brought to the House.
The House Committee Chairman suggested that henceforth, the executive arm should put it’s house in order and ensure that annual budget appropriations were ready and presented to the House of Assembly latest by the first week of October of every year to enable the lawmakers scrutinize it and pass it into law early enough.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Ahmed Marafa Guni while adopting the motion for the adoption of the 2018 budget appropriation, said
The budget as approved by the House has a capital projection of N81.3 billion and a recurrent expenditure projection of N53.3 billion for the current fiscal year.
The Speaker of the House directed the Clerk of the Assembly to forward the clean bills for the appropriation to the executive governor.