From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
The immediate past Governor of Kwara state, and Chairman, Senate committee on environment and ecology, Dr Bukola Saraki has faulted the implementation of the 2014 federal government budget.
Saraki who stated this while speaking with journalists alleged that contracts are just being awarded by majority of the federal ministries and parastatals.
The senator, who is also a member of the Senate committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions said, “when last time we passed the 2014 budget, I got up and made a comment that I was not happy with the way the budget was passed because I believe that we did not deliberate enough on actual expenditure.
“Budget is an estimate and when you do not review your actual, then it is likely that your revenue estimate may be wrong. In 2013 when we had done budget estimate that we will be producing 2.5 million barrels of oil and at the end of the day we were only doing 2 million barrels; that is what distorted the budget.
“Again, in 2014 now in majority of the ministries contracts are just being awarded. So if they are just awarding contracts in October is it possible to have implementation? The answer is no; these are some of the challenges that make us say the budget implementation is faulty and will not meet the expectations of Nigerians.
“I think, we, at the National Assembly, need to review the way we go about the budget implementation; because for example, the key issue is revenue; as without revenue there can’t be expenditure. But if you open the news every month about six pages are dedicated to all the allocations given to every local government.
“But do we have publications of revenue? Do we know how much the country is making on volume of oil production? We don’t; and that is not where the focus is. If you want to have your budget implemented, your revenue must not be distorted. If you are expecting N10 and you only get N7 which budget are you going to implement?
Saraki urged that before the budget for 2015 is considered the 2014 budget must be debated and scrutinized.
“We must be sure that projections and estimates are right and sustainable. I am afraid until we do that budget implementation will not be right”, he stated.