The Senate, yesterday, concluded debate on the general principles of the 2013 Appropriation Bill of N4.92 trillion as the aggregate expenditure, and referred it to the Committee on Appropriation for further legislative tinkering.
The Senator Ahmed Maccido-led committee was given three weeks to report back to the general House on their findings and recommendations.
After debating the performance of the 2012 budget and an in-depth analysis of the 2013 Appropriation Bill, the Senate, however, blamed the executive for poor implementation of the previous budget, just as the lawmakers called for effective implementation of the 2013 budget.
Facts and figures on revenue earnings from oil
Meanwhile, Senate President David Mark, yesterday, told the committee that time was ripe for Nigerians to know the true facts and figures on revenue earnings from oil as well as ensure that what was released to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, had cash backing.
He said: ‘’Revenue generation is extremely important because we can continue to assume that we are producing so many barrels and that so much has come in, but if we don’t touch the heart of it to make sure we are dealing with facts and figure, then we would be talking about imaginary figures.
“I think the committee on finance should get to the root of that to know how much we have realised at the end of the year and then we would know how much has been utilised. It is one thing to say that so much has been released to MDAs, but if they are not cash backed, then that release is merely on paper.
While urging the Senators to ensure that they carry out an effective oversight to assess the level of budget implementation, Mark said: “Whatever we say about the budget, if we pass it and can implement exactly what we passed faithfully, then, we would not have the complaints that we have.”
Earlier in his lead debate on the budget, Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, PDP, Cross River Central, noted that there should be slight change in the 2013 budget to accommodate the huge losses recorded through flood in the country. He, however, argued that the $75 oil benchmark set by the executive “is designed against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty as the global economy is at a very slow pace.”