OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has threatened to turn back Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over non-implementation of the 2021 budget despite receiving a hundred per cent (100%) allocation.

The lawmakers also expressed their determination not to accommodate nor capture their expenditure in the 2022 appropriation.

Benjamin Kalu, the spokesperson of the House, made this disclosure while briefing journalists in the National Assembly on Thursday. He described such attitude from the MDAs as sabotage to the efforts of the government.

Recall that earlier, OrderPaper Nigeria had also reported a similar scenario in the Senate whereby the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, alleged that MDAs were sabotaging the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over poor performance, especially in the area of infrastructural development.

Like the Senate, the House has adjourned plenary sessions for two weeks. This is to allow committees to scrutinize the budget proposal and assess the performance of MDAs from next week Monday. Hence, Kalu said defaulters would be sent back.

The House Spokesman assured that 2021 Budget implementation defaulters would not have the chance to defend their budgets. Therefore, the various House Committees have been urged to do due diligence on the budget for the benefit of Nigerians.

He said, “it is one thing to move the budget early enough. It is another thing to return the budget to the January to December calendar. Then it is another thing to sabotage the government by saying you have not received 100 per cent, so there would be no implementation. There is nowhere that the appropriation committee stated that you must receive 100 per cent funding before you start implementing the budget.” 

Additionally, Kalu said that “we actually frown at the agencies or ministries who say they have only received 75 percent or 60 percent and are waiting for more to come before implementation. Why don’t you start with that 50 percent that you have received and when the other ones come, you mobilize, especially on capital projects? To wait till the dying minutes and then start giving somebody 100 percent for him to be able to perform on that before coming for presentation is a very wrong strategy. It is one thing that we want the MDAs to change and that is what we are going to be looking out for in the budget implementation defence when they appear before us.”

MDAs which cannot justify the money they received may not get appropriation in this new budget, he stressed, adding: “What is the essence of asking to give you more when you have failed in your 2021 Budget implementation? Kalu asked. 

Accordingly, Kalu disclosed that the House intend to take on MDAs that have blatantly refused to implement resolutions passed by the parliament. “Another thing we are going to be looking out for in this budget is those various resolutions that we reached as a parliament. The resolutions that were supposed to be handled by the various MDAs and captured in their budget. If you ignored the resolutions of the parliament and you drafted your own budget without reference to what the representatives of the Nigerian people have asked you to please consider while preparing your budget, you are on a frolic of your own,” he said.

Furthermore, the lawmaker added that “it is an exercise in futility because we are going to pick it up and we are going to match it against the legislative compliance committee’s report, who would find out whether the MDAS are complying with legislative resolutions. It is no longer an all comers affair.”

While giving an example, he said, “if we have moved for a resolution and while considering several projects by an MDA we observed they ignored the resolution and then out of the blues introduce something strange to us, be sure that we are going to question you on that and you will justify it, or we take it out.

Finally, Kalu stated that “I want to guarantee Nigerians that the budget would not be as it came to the national Assembly. It is either it goes up or it goes down. But it would not be garbage in garbage out. A lot of work is going to be done and as you know the House has adjourned to the 9th of November to enable us consider at the committee level this budget so that by the time we come back we would be looking at the work done so far and if there is need to go back again we would go back. So from now till the 9th of November we will be meeting you mostly at the committee level.”

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