News Investigators/ The House of Representatives on Friday rejected the representatives of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS), insisting that governor, Yemi Cardoso and the Comptroller General, Adewale Adeniyi must appear before it in person to defend their 2024 budget.
The House also turned down the request by the representatives of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to defend their proposal before the Committee on Appropriation.
Speaking at the committee’s budget defence session on Friday in Abuja, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abubakar Bichi, said the heads of the agencies were duly invited for the interactive session.
According to him, the revenue-generating agencies must generate money because, without money, there is no magic President Bola Tinubu will perform to ensure the full performance of the budget.
Bitchi said: “The objective of this engagement is, among others, to provide highlights on some key issues in relation to the preparation, enactment, and implementation of the 2024 budget.”
He said this includes strategies for addressing rising inflation, reducing the burden of Nigeria’s debt profile, sector budgetary allocations, and the dynamics of budget releases.
Others, according to him, are economic diversification strategies, revenue generation forecasts, and other useful information that will facilitate the enactment of the bill and effective implementation of the Appropriations Act, 2024.
He said there were concerns about addressing the infrastructure gap in the country, eliminating poverty, and generally achieving the 8-Point Renewed Hope Agenda.
Bitchi said there was need to ensure that all loose ends to revenue were tied, adding that this could have a gross impact on government’s ability to implement the 2024 Appropriation Bill.
“While the revised MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework) and FSP (Fiscal Strategy Paper) showed that revenue-generating efforts by the present administration are already yielding fruit, more needs to be done.
“This is to ensure that government-owned enterprises optimize their revenue-generating potential”, he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, said the interactive session represented a beckon of light to shed light on the budget.
“Mr. President is ambitious, and he is very clear that Nigeria is not where it is; the revenue we collect is about 10 per cent, and the president has directed that we raise it to 18 per cent.”
“We understand that the lawmakers are interested in how money is spent. You are also interested in how you can cooperate with the executive to ensure we take Nigeria to a greater height’’, he said.
Bagudu said the 2024 proposal had increased spending, which included infrastructure and education, among others, adding that the budget appropriation had a proposal for $100 billion for the Sustainable Agriculture Fund.
According to him, the Federal Government also wants to ensure that the nation’s manufacturing sector will worry less about demand than production.
He, therefore, said that “all of us must work together to ensure we interrogate the revenue-generating agencies.
“We need a budget that can be trusted. We don’t have the money; we are looking for the money, so that is why we need to interrogate the revenue-generating agencies’’.