Nigerian Senate exonerates Finance Ministry of withholding funds from MDAs
The Nigerian Senate, on Friday, ruled out the allegation that the Federal Ministry of Finance was not releasing funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, for the purpose of executing their budgets.
Rather, the Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau argued that the MDAs have enjoyed prompt release of recurrent and capital overhead funds this year.
Some Heads of MDAs, during the ongoing 2022 budget defence exercise before the National Assembly, had alluded that lack of release of funds was amongst issues affecting the poor budget performance in the 2021 fiscal year.
But Senator Barau, while addressing journalists in National Assembly on Friday, admitted that his committee has been monitoring the release of funds, saying, “the Ministry has done well”.
According to him, he chaired the Committee on Appropriation at the lower legislative chambers years back, but what he is seeing showed that the present administration was doing well enough in the release
of funds, notwithstanding that some parastatals would have to fulfill procurement requirements in order to access funds.
“I don’t think that is correct as far as I know of capital releases to Ministries, Agencies and Department of Government. The Federal Ministry of Finance has done very well in prompt release of funds for execution of capital projects.
“They are doing very well, but the problem lies with some agencies of government that were yet to conclude procurement processes for execution of capital projects. As far as I know as the Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, there is so much money in accounts of some MDAs.
“In respect to implementation of the 2021 by the various agencies that have appeared before the various Committees so far, I think there was no problem so far. There’s also no problem accessing funds already
released and anything contrary is not correct.
“I want to recall that the budget performance for last year was 100 hundred percent and this year, from what the Committee on Appropriation has discovered, they are doing well such that by December when the lifespan of the 2021 would expire, they would have had 100% performance too.
“I was chairing this Committee between 1999 to 2003 and I know the difference between now and then, it hadn’t been so good like this”, Senator Barau said.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan had on Wednesday announced that agencies of government have only one week to finalize their budget defence.
Lawan stated at the close of plenary, saying that any Ministry that fails to defend its budget within one week would not have opportunity to do so anymore.