From Fred Itua, Abuja
The leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday, lampooned the Executive arm of government over poor implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget extended to March 31, 2021.
This is as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, informed the leaders that as at the end of January this year, only 30 per cent implementation had been achieved on the extended capital component of the 2020 budget.
The two chambers, in December, extended the capital component of the 2020 budget, few days before it passed the 2021 budget into law. The action was a departure from its January to December budget circle introduced by the current Assembly.
At an interactive session at the National Assembly, yesterday, the lawmakers led by both the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, told the minister that she was invited to brief them on level of implementation of the extended budget life span.
The Speaker specifically said since it was not a usual thing to extend the lifespan of a budget, there was need for them to be shown visible and identifiable results the executive has achieved with the extension granted the capital component of the 2020 budget from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
“This special session of the leadership of NASS interfacing with you is meant for oversighting the extension because feelers from the various MDAs on the implementation is not all that cheering.
“Many of them have complained to our various committees the difficulties being faced in accessing funds said to have been released by your ministry.
“We want to know the level of performance achieved so far whether it justifies the extension granted or not.”
The minister said though as at the end of January, onlyv 30 per cent implementation of the extended capital component of the budget was achieved, since all the funds have been released and most of the agencies have accessed them, remarkable percentage implementation will be achieved before March 31.
When the senate president asked her whether 100 per cent implementation performance would be achieved or not by the MDAs before the March 31 deadline, she said series of factors would determine that.
She in her earlier presentation, informed the federal lawmakers that as at December 2020, 89% of the capital component of the budget had been achieved from the N1.74 trillion released.
Asked to explain the wide gap between the official rate of foreign exchange and parallel market, she said it would be unreasonable to expect the two to be at equal level.
She however assured the lawmakers , that appropriate authorities and agencies within the executive arm of government , are working towards bridging the existing gap of about N100 between the two windows of foreign exchange.
Presently while the official rate of foreign exchange hovers between N360 to N379 to a U.S dollar , that of the parallel market is about N465 to a US dollar.