Nigeria Senate has expressed concerns over bogus annual budget without commensurate implementation as the debate for 2018 appropriation bill begins on Tuesday.
The N8,612,236,953,214 (Eight Trillion,Six Hundred and Twelve Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand,Two Hundred and Fourteen Naira budget drew the ire of the upper chambers, who said that there was poor implementation of 2017 appropriation.
The two critical issues that dominated Tuesday’s debate, newsmen observed were implementation and cost analysis of the 2017 appropriation considered as the worst by the Senate in Nigeria’s history.
As Senators took turns to contribute, Ben Murray Bruce stressed the need to cut costs. He emphatically said, some government agencies have outgrown their usefulness.
He was emphatic that the Voice of Nigeria (VON), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) be sold to staff of those agencies so that they could be properly managed.
“Mr President, distinguished colleagues,
let us look at agencies that makes no sense, FRCN, sell it. The staff of FRCN has 8,000 workers. Sell it. Sell NTA to the staff. Who listens to Voice of Nigeria again?”
“The staff should form cooperative society and buy them like Chief Obafemi Awolowo did in those days.”
While budget implementation analysis was divided along party lines, there was unanimity that some irrelevant agencies should be scrapped.
Senator Gbenga Ashafa said that implementation of 2017 appropriation was 37%, adding that government was set to over come those hiccups that were responsible for the abysmal performance.
He commended government for capturing South East in railway proposals in the current budget.
In his ruling, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu emphasised that those government media institutions and other agencies not relevant may be scrapped.
Budget debate continues on Wednesday.