Senate President David Mark yesterday said budget implementation figures bandied by the Federal Government were mere statistics. The Senate president also fingered heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as culprits in poor implementation of national budgets.
Mark said this during the budget defence of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday. Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina was in attendance when the Senate President blasted MDAs.
The budget implementation figures by the Federal Government, said Mark, did not reflect realities on ground. Addressing the minister, the Senate President further noted that in spite of the full cooperation of the National Assembly, budget performance had remained very low, adding, “there is no justifiable cause for such; we would not take it any longer.” “Agriculture is a very important ministry. I attach a great deal of importance to agriculture; if we do not have enough food, we will be subjected to external domination.
“People believe that budget is a mere document; if you like it you implement, if you don’t like it, you reject it. Finance Ministry is a problem,” Mark rounded off. He equally expressed worries over non-priority attached to lawmaker’s constituency projects and doubted the possibility of MDAs implementing all capital projects for 2012. “You did not give constituency project any priority. You left it till now. How many works can the contractor do between now and the end of the year? “People are not concerned about implementation.
That is not a correct attitude to budget. Once a budget is signed, it becomes law and it is binding all of us.” Mark also demanded to know the level of success recorded in the Electronic Wallet approach to fertilizer distribution across the country. “Statistics given by percentage never gives any real figure or perception or what is practically on ground.
I want to know how much fertilizer and seedlings went to the farmers directly through the new method you introduced.” In his response, the minister noted that about 1.2 million farmers got fertilizers through the newly introduced electronic wallet method.
He added that 90 per cent of this figure came from the northern part of the country.
Speaking on 2012 budget performance, the Minister said about 75 per cent of the released budget has been implemented. “A total amount of N43.9 billion was appropriated to us comprising Personnel allocation of N7.4 billion, N208 million Overhead and Capital budget of N36.3 billion. Out of these figures, only N5.2 billion had been received on Personnel, N178 million on Overhead and N18 billion on Capital.
So, out of total budget of N43.9 billion, we have received a total of N23.4 billion and utilised N19.5 billion.”