N146bn budget: Senate throws FIRS proposal into bin

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The Senate has declined to approve the N146.17 billion 2016 budget of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) while criticising its Finance Committee which scrutinised the proposal for doing a poor job.

The lawmakers said that the budget was replete with ambiguous figures and questionable inclusion of certain capital projects, a situation they said had become an annual routine.

The finance committee, headed by Sen. John Enoh (PDP-Cross River) was therefore directed by the senate to take the budget back and reflect all the observations and represent it in one week.

Presenting the committee’s report of the budget earlier, Enoh had explained the rationale for including some capital projects in it but the explanation was rejected by the lawmakers.

Consequently, the Leader of the Senate, Alhaji Ali Ndume, called for stepping down of the consideration of the report until more work was done on it.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, deplored the preponderance of late submission of budgets of government departments and agencies, especially revenue generating ones.

He warned that henceforth, budgets of special agencies not included in the yearly budget, must be submitted not later than the first quarter of the year.

“I will partly blame these things on the late submission of budgets. This practice where government agencies send their budgets late to the National Assembly and expect them to be passed immediately will not be tolerated.

“They must submit their budgets early so that we can have enough time to work on their proposals. If we do that, these issues we have here will not arise.

The relevant committees should take note of that and ensure that the right thing is done,” Saraki said.

He ruled that the report should be returned to the committee for proper work and to be returned to the chamber within one week.

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