The House of Representatives through its Science and Technology Committee says as long as key government Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs remain grossly underfunded through budgetary releases, the yearly appropriation performance will remain nothing to right home about.
Committee chairman Rep Beni Lar and other members were unanimous on this and expressed same at an aborted meeting scheduled for today Monday between them and the Finance Minister Hajia Zainab Ahmed and the Director General Budgets Office Benjamin Akabwueze on how to stem the perennial occurrence of inadequate releases from appropriation.
Today’s meeting however could not hold due to the inability of both Zainab and Akabwueze to attend while the directors sent from both offices to represent their principals were rejected as they were deemed not equipped enough to provide answers to posers that will be raised by the committee
Committee chairman Beni Lar after aggregating members’ views ruled that the two should be given another date to meet with the committee.
She attributed her stance to the principle of fair hearing and warned them not to look down on Parliament’s invitation to deliberate on serious issues such as the national budget in the future else stiffer sanctions could be applied
Committee members were taken aback at the way the Ministry of Science and Technology as well as many others have over the years been treated by the Finance Ministry and Budget Office, especially in the area of capital releases of appropriated funds.
This development, members noted make nonsense of development plans by MDAs and make the review of their previous year budgetary expenditure difficult to defend.
The Science and Tech Ministry which had a budgetary allocation of N20 billion for the acquisition of a first-rated laboratory and research centre had the sum of N20 million released to it for the same purpose in the financial year.
Members noted that by the virtue of their belonging to other committees, the practice is rampant and needed to be ironed out amicably with the parties concerned. ## ENDS.