The Senate on Tuesday frowned at what it described as poor funding of the 2017 budget by the executive arm of government, warning that recession may return to Nigeria in full swing if the trend continues.
The Senate which resumed plenary sessions after about 8 weeks recess said only about ten per cent of the N7.4 trillion 2017 budget has been implemented so far notwithstanding that the fiscal year is barely three months to the end.
To tie loose ends on budget implementation, the Senate, however, summoned the Ministers in charge of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma for appearance to explain reason behind for poor implementation of the 2017 budget.
The Senate took this decision after adopting a motion moved by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi tagged “Stabilizing and sustaining post recession growth of the economy”
Presenting the motion, the Senator expressed dismay against what he described as poor funding of the Budget, stressing that the sum of N310 billion released by the government was a far cry from what was required for effective implementation.
He lamented that the sum of $9 billion had been spent by government so far for the purpose of stabilising the naira.
Senator Yahya lamented also that failure to expeditiously fulfill all righteousness on budget implementation with correct release of require funds may drag the Nigerian economy back to recession.
The Senate, however “urged the budget managers to remain focused and ensure that the current weak growth of a mere 0.55% is built upon and increased substantially in the months and years to come”
It further urged the fiscal and monetary authorities to come together and harmonize fiscal and monetary policies with a view to drastically reducing the high interest rate that has adversely affected borrowing for investment by the real sector of the economy;
The motion also “urged fiscal authorities to drastically reduce the accumulation of domestic debt in order to free the market for better access by the private sector”
Senator Barau Jibril (APC, Kano State) who seconded the motion asked that the managers of the nation’s economy be put on their toes so that they would not be complacent.
He said the failure to release money to fund the budget has become a serious threat to the economy.
Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) in his contribution said, “Our economic managers are just joggling the economy using ways and means to manipulate it”
He added, “If it is true that the foreign reserve has grown from $25 billion to $34 billion, why are we incapacitated in funding the 2017 budget? We must say the truth.
“We must go back to the drawing board and take key decisions. We must engage in massive production and we must engage in massive spending too. What we have done is not a geniune approach to addressing the problem of the economy and getting outbof recession.”
Senator Biodun Olujumi representing Ekiti State said Nigeria is only technically out of recession but still languishing in economic quagmire.
He lamented that barely three months to the end of the year, the 2017 budget had not recorded 10% implementation. According to her, the major problem is that the economic managers were yet to develop a viable economic blue print.
Senator Gbenga B. Ashafa (Lagos East) the Senate expressed concerns that since the 2017 budget was assented to by the President, only about N310 Billion Naira has been released by the Federal Government to Ministries, Departments and Agencies as funding for capital projects.
He said the amount is far too low to stimulate the economy to address the Nigeria’s economic challenges;
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