President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to Agencies, Corporations and government owned companies, saying they have till Friday March 23 to submit details of their 2018 budget estimates to the appropriate committees of the National Assembly.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, disclosed this in a circular conveying the directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The SGF directed the agencies to comply with the provisions of the law and honour invitations to defend their estimates timeously.
According to a statement from the media office of the SGF, Mustapha enjoined supervising Ministers to ensure timely compliance with the content of the Circular.
The statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday reads: “It has come to the attention of government that a number of Agencies, Corporations and Government owned Companies have not fully complied with the provisions of Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.
“Agencies are reminded that the FRA 2007 provides that consequent upon laying of summary of budget estimates of Agencies listed in the schedule to the FRA alongside the National Budget by Mr. President.
“It is required that details of such budgets are made available to the National Assembly for consideration and passage. This position was reiterated by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on National Assembly Matters (Senate)”.
Accordingly, SGF Mustapha said President Buhari has directed that “Agencies, Corporations and Government owned Companies in the schedule to the FRA 2007 should comply with the provisions of the law.
“All submissions (109 copies to the Senate and 360 copies to the House) should be made available to the appropriate Committees of the National Assembly.
“Copies should also be made available to the SSAP on National Assembly Matters (Senate and House respectively), not later than Friday, 23rd March, 2018.
“All Agencies, Corporations and Government Owned Companies should honour invitations to defend their estimates timeously. Supervising Ministers are enjoined to ensure timely compliance with the content of this Circular”, the statement further noted.
The National Assembly had accused the executive of delaying the 2018 budget passage, saying the failure of heads of ministries, departments and agencies to defend the appropriations bill is causing the delay.
…Approves $15bn Loan Negotiation For Railway Project
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has given authorisation for negotiations to begin on a $15 billion loan for the completion of work on the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri rail project.
Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, also revealed that the president had given a similar approval towards the execution of Lagos-Calabar rail project to ensure its speedy completion. He, however, did not give the loan figure involved.
Amaechi said, “Don’t forget that the Lagos-Calabar is yet to start because of funds; the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri is yet to start because of funds, but the president has approved that we negotiate for funds.
“We are almost concluding negotiations for the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri. We are looking at the cost; it is in the neighbourhood of between $14 billion and $15 billion.’’
He further explained that a lot of progress is being made in the area of revamping rail transportation network across the country.
Amaechi disclosed that the laying of tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route would commence next month, noting that the project would provide a lot of job opportunities to Nigerians.
“If the rain doesn’t start early, we will start laying tracks on the Lagos-Ibadan route in April and, hopefully, we believe we can complete it in December or January and open it up for passengers and business; and we expect about six million tonnes of cargo out of the 30 million tonnes of cargo that we have between Lagos and Kano (to transit through the rail line).
“In terms of job creation, you can rest assured that it will be in thousands,” he said.
On Itakpe-Warri rail project, Amaechi explained that the project was being reconstructed and expressed the hope that it would be inaugurated by August.
“The tracks were already there but they were vandalised, so we are rebuilding those tracks and then building new stations. We are also reconstructing a yard that was abandoned.
“All things being equal, the place should be ready soon. We gave them May as completion period, but let’s say by August we should be commissioning,’’ he said.
While dismissing the report of a robbery attack on the Kaduna-Abuja rail, he assured that adequate security had been taken to guarantee the safety of passengers using rail transportation in the country.
“There are policemen in all the coaches that ply our routes. So if the passengers are attacked by armed robbers, they will take action,” he said.