The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has blamed the Budget Office and Ministry of Finance for an alleged poor funding of Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs).
Tambuwal spoke when the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), who Hamman Tukur, led members of the board on a courtesy visit.
The speaker was reacting to a statement by Tukur that the National Assembly was not showing desired interest in the power reforms project, said the chamber had been working with the Ministry of Power to fix the challenges facing power.
He said that the house expeditiously passed bills sent to it by the executive on the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
He expressed the support of the house for the Federal Government’s efforts to address the problem of power supply.
“We seek your understanding; we are not your problems, not the problem of any MDA in this country; the problem is the Budget Office.
“This I’m saying, as the leader of this house, is the fact and until we address the challenges of the budget office, which normally changes the submissions of the MDAs whimsically without any expertise.
” We will continue to have problems, not only of funding budgets but also of implementation because MDAs are being given what otherwise were not their documents to implement; where would they start from,” he said.
He, however, assured that the National Assembly would continue to render support in terms of funding.
” The national assembly will continue to support you in terms of funding but we will also continue to follow the money through oversight; I know most of the MDAs don’t want to hear members of the national assembly coming for oversight.
” It is not that we are on the visit to find faults, we are only there to see how the allocated resources were judiciously applied or not. We don’t intend to make enemies out of our work; what we are here for is for the collective good of Nigerians,” he said.
He stressed that the house was ready to complement the effort of the Federal Government to address the problem of power supply in the country.
” Let me say this, we are very ready and amenable to complement the efforts of the government in ensuring that we have stable affordable power supply in this country. That was why the legislation towards the unbundling of the PHCN was passed in 2005.
“One is to provide appropriate legal framework and if there are challenges you have in the implementation of the law so far, you are free to come forward with such observations and we are ready to attend to such amendments expeditiously.
” Our job is to make provisions for funding which have been quite challenging. In some cases arising from our knowledge from what we meet on the ground as a result of our oversight, there were attempts in some cases to adjust funding for some of these critical sectors of the economy.
” But we often meet some resistance. Not necessarily from the experts from the MDAs but from the budget office and the ministry of finance,” he said.
On the oil benchmark problem, he dismissed the reason adduced by the executive for seeking the pegging of the price at $76.5 in the 2014 budget, arguing that the country could not be saving money on empty stomach.
He said that efforts should be geared towards fixing the nation’s infrastructure, rather than laying emphasis on saving money.
Earlier, Tukur implored the assembly to critically look into the power sector.