By Aaron Ossai
The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has summoned the Finance Minister, Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC among others over the 2024 declaration of revenue targets.
Chairman of the Committee Hon. Abubakar Bichi who stated this at the resumed interactive session with Government Owened Enterprises, GOE’s over the 2024 declaration of revenue target insisted that projected revenues are not enough for the country.
He attributed rising inflation to a major problem hence the need for GOE’s to appear before the committee for further interaction.
Bichi noted that reducing the burden of Nigeria’s debt profile, sectoral budgetary allocations, and the dynamics of budget releases, economic diversification strategies, revenue generation forecasts is needed to facilitate the enactment of the Application Bill and effective implementation of the Appropriations Act, 2024.
To this end, the Committee Chairman summoned Government Owned Enterprises to include the minister of Finance, FIRS, NUPRC, NCC, CG Customs, NNPC, NPA, NIMASA, Minister of State for Petroleum, the CBN Governor among others to appear in person on Monday December 11.
The committee had turned back representatives of CBN, Customs, FIRS, and demanded their heads to appear.
The interactive session was to discuss further areas where the country could find money to fund the 2024 budget.
According to him, these revenue-generating agencies must come with money because, without money, there is no magic the president can perform to ensure the realization of the Renewed Hope Budget.
He said President Bola Tinubu’s 2024 budget is fantastic, but money is needed to fund 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 there were concerns about addressing the infrastructural gap in the country, eliminating poverty, and generally achieving the 8-Point Renewed Hope Agenda.
He added that there was a need to ensure that all loose ends to revenue were tied, adding that this could have a gross impact on the government’s ability to implement the 2024 Appropriation Bill when passed.
“While the revised MTEF and FSP showed that revenue-generating efforts by the present administration are already yielding fruit, more needs to be done to ensure that government-owned enterprises optimize their revenue-generating potential.”
Speaking, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, said the interactive session represented a beckon of light.
He said, “Mr. President is ambitious, and he is very clear that Nigeria is not where it is; the revenue we collect is about 10 percent, and the president has directed that we raise it to 18 percent.”
“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 the 2024 proposal had increased spending, which included infrastructure and education, among others. He added that the budget appropriation had a proposal for $100 billion for the Sustainable Agriculture Fund.
According to him, we also want to ensure that our manufacturing sector will worry less about demand than production. We have provided a total of N50 billion in student loans.
He said these were game-changing moves, which are a product of legislation, adding 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 money; we are looking for money, so that is why we need to interrogate the revenue-generating agencies”, he added.