Senate to review 2017 budget for even distribution of projects
•Reps, IMF meet over fiscal plan, recession
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has declared that the N7.289 trillion 2017 budget estimates presented to the National Assembly in December last year would be critically reviewed for equitable distribution of projects nationwide.
Saraki, who stated this at the end of the general debate on the fundamental principles on the budget in the Senate, directed the chairmen of standing committees to reflect that during budget defence with the various government ministries and agencies.
He said to ensure compliance, the leadership will meet with the chairmen next Tuesday preparatory to a public hearing holding between February 7 and 8.
His words: “We are doing this exercise in the spirit of equitable distribution of projects. I will like all our respective committees to take note of that and ensure that we do our best to make this exercise better than last year.
“We must take note of some of the contributions by our colleagues. Although we passed a law that a percentage of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) should go to the health sector which till date has still not been implemented, the fact remains that the budget for the sector is still below the minimum we agreed.”
Consequently, the upper chamber of the National Assembly suspended plenary till February 21 to allow for the various government ministries and agencies to defend their budgets.
Also yesterday, a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by its Senior Resident Representative, African Development, Mr. Amine Mati, yesterday, met with the House of Representatives committees on Finance, Appropriations and Debts, Loans and Aids to have a first-hand knowledge of what the Federal Government was doing to tackle the prevailing recession in the country.
According to Mati, his organisation was worried about the economic situation in Nigeria and had resolved to assess the situation with a view to compiling a report in the coming weeks, adding that the move would be useful to both parties.
His words: “I am pleased to inform you that the IMF normally carries out assessment such as this, at least once in a year on countries going through one form of economic challenge or the other.
“To compile our reports, we usually meet with governments, members of parliaments, civil society groups and other bodies to get their views. “The report we intend to do on the Nigerian situation will probably be in March this year. The panels’ heads were unanimous that government was up and doing in bailing the country out of the crisis.
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