Dr. Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment, says the federal executive council is reluctant to implement the 2019 budget because they were afraid that the national assembly introduced foreign items to the budget.
Speaking on Thursday when he reported for duty at the ministry with his minister of state, Tayo Alasoadura, Ngige said 60% of the 2019 budget will be rolled over into 2020 budget.
“Part of the reasons why our budget has suffered is that once it suffered distortion down there at the National Assembly, the Executive is reluctant to implement it because they will feel that foreign items have been introduced into the budget,” he said.
“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.
“If we do our work well, 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 do 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 projects, the scaling and the final plans as well as the financial implication.”
Ngige said ministers must work to ensure that the budget is ready for submission to the national assembly in September.
“We have been warned that we 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.
“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 national assembly had increased the budget from the proposed N8.73 trillion to N8.91 trillion.