By Musa Baba Adamu
The much celebrated success made by the Senate Committee on Finance as regards facilitation of some revenue generating government agencies to exit the National budget , was punctured by the Minister of Finance , Zainab Ahmed at an interactive session with the committee on Thursday .
This is even as she countered the Accountant General of the Federation , Ahmed Idris on using the Audited reports of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government ( MDAs) , as basis for reconciliation of their accounts on yearly basis .
The Senate Committee on Finance headed by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West), had last week announced that federal agencies like the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control ( NAFDAC) , NIGCOMSAT and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC ) , had agreed to exit the National budget as far as their overhead costs were concerned.
The move as stated by Senator Adeola after an interactive session with heads of the agencies last week , is targeted at reducing yearly budget deficits and getting more revenue to fund budgets.
But the Minister of Finance in her reaction to the move , said since the overhead components of National budget is the smallest , such move will not give the required impacts as far as budget deficits and funding are concerned .“The 2021 budget is N13.8 trillion with overhead components of just about N380billion.
“So, if any revenue generating government agency, is exiting the national budget with just overhead component, it will not bring about any difference.
“The components that can bring about significant difference or differences , are recurrent and capital components , which none of the said agencies included in their exit plan from the National budget”, she said.
On using Audited reports of the various MDAs, for basis of their account reconciliation on yearly basis as suggested by the Accountant General of the Federation to the Committee, the Minister said “ rather than helping to ensure accountability and transparency , it will frustrate it.
“Since Audited reports of the various agencies are not made available until four or five years after any year in focus , such document cannot be recommended to be used as basis for account reconciliation of the agencies on yearly basis.
“If such report is used as basis for accounts reconciliation, the agencies will drag their feet in making it available”, she said.