From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has expressed displeasure over the non-payment of utility bills by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The House, on Tuesday, said it will explore the possibility of government deducting the utility bills of MDAs directly from their accounts.
The Green Chamber mandated its Committees on Appropriations and Public Accounts to meet heads of MDAs to fashion out a blueprint for the payment of the bills.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Kingsley Chima on the ‘need to introduce a direct debit for utility bills payments by MDAs.’
Chima, in his lead debate, argued that MDAs, under the guise of being part of the government, oftentimes refuse to pay their utility bills when due.
The lawmaker stated that this is regardless of the fact that the utility bills are captured in the budgets of the MDAs.
According to him, ‘investigations have revealed that MDAs find it very difficult to pay their electricity and water bills; and when they do, they would pay in peanuts after years or months of accumulation.
‘We all know that government in its annual budgets accommodate these utility bills and fund them adequately. Most MDAs even go as far as defending the payments of these utility bills during their budget defences; when they, in fact, actually owe the utility bills to the providers.’
Chima stated that there is a need to work out a convenient means of ensuring that MDAs pay their bills without owing service providers.
He noted that if MDAs pay their bills promptly, they will in turn pay their taxes to the government in good time, thereby boosting the revenue base of the government.