The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Tuesday blamed the Budget Office and ministry of finance for the poor funding of ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs.
Tambuwal said this when the chairman of the board of directors of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Hamman Tukur, who led members of the board on a courtesy visit, accused the National Assembly of not showing the desired interest in the power reforms project.
Responding, the Speaker said that the budget office and not the legislative house was the problem.
“We seek your understanding, we are not your problems, not the problem of any MDA in this country. The problem is the budget office…until we address the challenges of the budget office, which normally changes the submissions of the MDAs whimsically without any expertise, we will continue to have problems, not only of funding budgets but also of implementation,” he said.
Continuing, he added: “Let me say this, we are very ready and amenable to complement the efforts of the government in ensuring that we have stable affordable power supply in this country. That was why the legislation towards the unbundling of the PHCN was passed in 2005.”
He, however, assured that the National Assembly would continue to render support in terms of funding.
“The national assembly will continue to support you in terms of funding but we will also continue to follow the money through oversight,” Tambuwal said.
On the oil benchmark problem, he dismissed the reason adduced by the executive for seeking the pegging of the price at 76.5 dollars in the 2014 budget, arguing that the country could not be saving money on empty stomach.
He said that efforts should be geared towards fixing the nation’s infrastructure, rather than on saving money.
Contrary to expectations, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, proposed a reduction in capital expenditure from 32 percent to 26 percent and increase in recurrent expenditure 68 percent to 74 percent in 2014.
The federal government had lamented that “the level of outlay of personnel cost is crowding out expenditure on capital spending needed to develop the nation and constitutes a major drain on public resources.”