By Gift Chapi Odekina
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has warned that the House will no longer tolerate the diversion of fund to finance unnecessary trivialities in the country.
Gbajabiamila gave the warning to Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) on Thursday in Abuja during the opening of a five day interactive sessions on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper(FSP) organised by the House joint committee on Finance, Appropriation, National Planning and Economic Development and Aids, Loans and Debt Management.
He said the revenue-generating agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria have a vital role to play in funding the 2021-2023 budget.
The Speaker expressed that there has thus far been a consistent failure to adhere to the revenue remittance agreements to which many of these agencies have committed.
According to him, We have credible reports that these desperately needed funds have in many cases, been diverted to finance unnecessary trivialities. At the same time, the Government is left scrambling for alternative sources to fund priority projects. We cannot afford this dynamic, and we will not tolerate it any more.
He therefore reiterated that the legislature remains the keeper of the public purse, with broad constitutional authority to act on behalf of the Nigerian people, to ensure that our collective resources are efficiently administered in service of the public good.
He urged that no one should be in doubt as the House of Representatives will not hesitate to act on its constitutional authority notwithstanding whatever objections may arise.
The Speaker earlier admitted that the country is facing fiscal crisis owing to the coronavirus pandemic stating that the House of Representatives recognise that the challenges the country now face will not abate in the medium term.
He however reassured that the House is committed to using the appropriations process as a tool for accomplishing the nation’s most pressing development objectives.
“We have a responsibility to act with urgent determination to build the infrastructure of opportunity that is required to lift millions of our fellow citizens out of poverty. We recognise that we cannot accomplish these objectives using loans and outside financing alone.
Therefore, we need impose deep cuts in the cost of governance and improve internal revenue generation and collection so that we can free up resources that can then be deployed to fund policy initiatives that will enhance the lives of our people,” he said.
On his part, chairman of the House committee on Finance, Mr. James Faleke explained that the five day interactive sessions is to chat a new course to fund the 2021-2020 budget.
While noting that the national assembly will continue to interact with MDAs to ensure ways to generate funds for 2021-2023 budget, Mr. Faleke warned that the national assembly will henceforth deduct from sources of defaulting agencies.