The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has said that chances are high that about 60 percent of the 2019 budget will be rolled over to the 2020 budget.
The minister explained that the 2019 budget suffered distortion down at the National Assembly, forcing the Executive to be reluctant in implementing.
According to him, this is done to avoid feelings that foreign items have been introduced into the budget.
Speaking to the staff of the ministry when he resumed duty at the ministry alongside Minister of State for Labour and Employment Tayo Alasoadura, Ngige said the ministry has been warned that it must bring back the January/December budget circle.
“Therefore, the President of the Senate and officers of the National Assembly have, in one voice, requested from us that the budget should come in September and once they get it in September, they will give it to us in December.
“So, we must do our part and what that means is that parastatals themselves must submit their budget here and come and defend it. We are going to be serious about that because we hear of budget padding because parastatals invite Assembly members to come and carry padded things into their places.
“We must stop that and we have to be serious about that any parastatal under this ministry that does that will be sanctioned so that we can live within our means and we can stay within what we have proposed for the work of the administration.”
The minister further quoted section 80 and 81 of the Nigerian constitution which talks about the budget and how it can be used, saying if the ministry performed its role, it will be a co-administered thing.
“We can set up committees and agreed on how it can be done so that it does not suffer distortion out there.
“It is even appropriate that before we go down to the National Assembly to defend our budget, we should have met with our committee to agree on items or what you called budget lines are not supposed to be tampered with by the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly can tamper with figures and amount because they have the power of the purse. But line items are not supposed to be tampered with because it is the ministry that does the planning of a project, the scaling and the final plans as well as the financial implication.
“The executive must take the lead by putting its house in order. So, I am sounding a note of warning that we must immediately start our budget planning to ensure that we submit it by September,” the minister said.
Ngige also disclosed that the call circular from the budget office will come very soon.
“But before it comes, you can be doing your work because you already know that the 2019 budget has not been aggressively executed.
“From the retreat we had, we now know that about 60 percent of it has to go back into the 2020 budget and rolled over. That was agreed and so, we can start our work ahead.”