The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has shunned the Senate Committee on Appropriation over the 2020 budget performance for the second time in two weeks.
Others that shunned the invitation of Senate Panel on Appropriation were the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, and Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.
The Senate had two weeks ago invited the trio, but they declined the lawmakers invitation.
Thereafter, the Committee scheduled another budget performance meeting with the Minister for September 24, 2020.
Addressing journalists after waiting for them for over one hour, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jubril Barau, expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of Minister of Finance and Director General of Budget office to appear before the lawmakers to give account of the 2020 budget performance.
He said the Committee is not only saddled with appropriation, but budget performance because without budget implementation, the budget is nothing.
Barau said: “We have invited Minister of Finance and Director General of Budget office in order to have a brief about 2020 budget performance.
“This is the second time we are scheduling this meeting.
“We are here and we are supposed to hold this meeting two weeks ago, but we postponed the meeting at the instance of Minister of Finance and the Director General of Budget Office.
“But today, still they are not able to come.
“We are supposed to start this meeting for 2pm, but we are here 15 minutes after three, we are yet to see them.
“We don’t know the reason.
“We have being told that the Accountant General is on his way, but we have not heard anything from the Minister of Finance.
“We are going to adjourn the meeting and to find out why they are not here.
“We are going to reschedule the meeting for another date.
“The budget performance is something that is dear to us.
“Very very important.
“It is part of the mandate of this committee.
“This committee is not only saddled with putting together the budget, it is not only concerned with appropriation process, but also implementation of the budget because the budget means nothing, if not implemented.
“It is part of our mandate to always oversight what is going on about budget performance, particularly this time that we want the economy to be fully up and running after the lockdown due to COVID-19, but it is unfortunate that they are not here.
“We will find out why they are not here.”
The Senate had in June passed the revised 2020 budget of N10,805,544,664,642 that was sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A breakdown of the figure showed that the sum of N2,488,789,433,344 is for capital expenditure and recurrent non-debt expenditure has N4,942,269,241,984.
The executive also allocated N422,775,979,362 for statutory transfer, while N2,951,710,000,000 was budgeted for debt servicing.
In the same vein, N500 billion was earmarked as intervention funds for the fight against COVID-19, while the health sector got N186 billion allocation.