Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has revealed that it is targeting over 300 revenue generating agencies to enable the Executive arm fund the 2020 budget.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, while briefing newsmen at the weekend, said that his panel would work closely with the agencies to ensure that funds generated are properly channels to fund capital components of the 2020 budget.
He expressed hope that the 2020 Appropriation Act would perform better since the country has returned to the January-December budget circle.
Olamilekan, whose committee is charged with the responsibility of supervising all revenue generating agencies, also promised to ensure that releases are made by the Ministry of Finance to the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
“Releases depend on availability of funds. That is, funds from all expectations of government in every financial year. That’s what determines amounts released in funding the budget.
“The budget is an estimate of what the government wants to spend in a particular financial year. The performance of that budget at the end of the financial year, depends on how the various revenue generating agencies performed.
“Our budget is determined by internal and external funding. External funding which forms more than 50 or 60 per cent of the budget, comes from oil. But there are fluctuations in the price of oil as a result of wars and OPEC quota.
“These things culminate into what comes to us at the end of the day. It is the aftermath of that non-oil revenue collected by the FIRS. Don’t forget that FIRS collection covers all the three tiers of government.
“Now, we have a full year budget implementation. We can now actually measure the performances of our releases. In the past, it was a zigzag arrangement – recurrent will come to an end and the capital will still be ongoing.
“Now, we are funding the recurrent and the capital at the same time. This will give us a clearer picture of how the budget performed in 12 months,” he explained.
Explaining why it may be difficult to remove the fuel subsidy, despite its huge burden on the country, the senator said that as soon as refineries start working, that option would be put on the table.
He said: “I agree that we need to find a way by which we can tackle this issue of fuel subsidy. I can imagine if the money used in paying for the fuel subsidy can be withdrawn and used in implementing the budget.