By EricJames Ochigbo
Abuja, Dec. 3, 2020 The spokesman for the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia), has urged the Federal Government to back the budget with resources to ensure the development of the country.
Kalu made the call while fielding questions from newsmen at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Wednesday.
“I saw an agency that did not spend all that was allocated to it and when we asked, it was honourable enough to say that it came late.
“The money which was meant to achieve what it wanted to do in the 2020 budget arrived late and there was no way it could start using such fund and achieve the target before the end of the financial year.
“For me, that is integrity because to sit in the office and write off that money is not what Nigerians want.
“But that sends a signal to the Executive that when a budget is presented, defended, approved and appropriated, when an Act of parliament has been put in place in form of an appropriation Act, it should be backed with resources.
“That should be done early enough to enable the achievement of that budget; there is a political element in every budget and that is the people element which is tied against time.
“When we pass an appropriation Act, it is for a period of one year; it is time-based, this is a call for the Executive; the budget does not stop at the parliament.
“Once the parliament passes the budget, it should be backed by funds to enable those who are to use it to achieve their objective in good time.
“If that is not done, we shall have numerous cases of unspent funds which is counter productive to the development of the country,” he said.
Kalu said that the house had the intention to pass the 2021 budget before the end of 2020 to sustain the January to December budget circle.
The lawmaker frowned at reports claiming that some committees held budget defence behind closed doors saying that the allegations would be investigated.
Kalu also said that the house’s Committee on Special Duties would engage the Executive to have the men of government account for the Service Wide Vote.
He said that relevant committees of the house would get the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among other revenue generating agencies to give proper account to the Nigerian people.