NASS submits 2016 budget details to presidency, says plan is implementable

buhari• Buhari orders customs, FIRS to generate revenue to sustain fiscal proposal
The National Assembly yesterday finally submitted the details of the 2016 Appropriation Bill worth N6.06 trillion to the presidency.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Dr. Abdulmumini Jibrin submitted the clean copy of the budget details to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari immediately.

Jibrin who stated that the National Assembly would keep its fingers crossed on whether the president would assent to the bill or not described the budget as an implementable document.

Meanwhile, Buhari has ordered the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Customs Service to generate the major part of the over N6.08 trillion 2016 budget to sustain the nation’s economy following the fall in crude oil price.

To this end, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Ahmed Hameed Ali (rtd) has tasked the personnel of the Customs Service all over the country, to increase their performance in revenue generation with the ultimatum of aim of meeting the mandate given by Buhari on the nation’s revenue.

Though Jibrin did not shed light on the details of the budget, he disclosed that the National Assembly altered part of the proposal by the Executive in line with powers conferred on them by the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Thanking Nigerians for their patience , he stated that with the completion of work on the details of the budget, Nigerians should rest assured of delivery of democracy dividends in the coming days.

He said: “We have done a good job but of course you know the challenges we have to go through but we have gone through that over and over to ensure everything is okay with the budget. We have done the very best that we can and we would continue to plead with Nigerians to be patient. We do know what people are going through and we share their pains. We just want Nigerians to understand that this year is a completely different year.”

Reminded of Buhari’s position that the budget must be returned to him as was proposed to the National Assembly, he said: “We have worked on the details. Of course there are inputs of lawmakers in the details and just like every other year you would always have a situation where when it comes to the details you are faced with what the executive arm wants and what the lawmakers want .
“The Appropriation Committee is to find a middle ground between both but I think the budget we just submitted with my colleagues in the Senate is an implementable budget and to a large extent we believe that it is in line with the policy thrust of the government.”

In a joint statement issued by both the Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives , the lawmakers enjoined Buhari to abide strictly by the provision of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which stipulates that the appropriation bill be presented early so that there could be sufficient time for interactive sessions between the executive and the legislature before the commencement of committee hearings.

This they contended is to avoid some of the controversies that dogged this year’s budget and add value to the entire process.
Ali spoke in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital yesterday while concluding his tour of the Oyo/Osun Command of the Customs Service. Ali, who visited Saki, Oyo State office of the command to assess the facilities at the border town, was accompanied on the fact-finding tour, by the Controller of Oyo/Osun Command, Mr. Temitope Ogunkua and other senior officers from the headquarters, Abuja.

The Customs boss, however, noted that in order to achieve the mandate, the welfare of the officers and men of the service must be improved.

While expressing optimism that both the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS and the Customs Service could achieve the revenue target of the nation, Ali also stressed the need for staff motivation and provision of infrastructure .

His words: “ We expect nothing but the optimum in terms of performance .We are working assiduously towards increasing our performance. At present, the customs and the FIRS remain the major source of revenue for the Federal Government .

“Price of oil has gone so low that we can no longer be dependent on oil. Solid minerals have not been developed to the level that they will sustain us .

So, the only source of stable revenue for the Federal Government is the FIRS and the customs. It is not a matter of choice. It is a must that we step up our performance in order to garner the revenue needed to sustain this nation . So, we have no choice.”

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