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Budget: Senate Wants FG To Scrap N360bn Service Wide Votes, Says It’s Avenue To Siphon Money

Nigeria's senate in session

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – The Senate has called for the scrapping of the Service Wide Vote that has the sum of N360.94billion proposed in the 2015 budget.

Service Wide Vote is a major component of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) budgets earmarked for contingencies and approved by the National Assembly but without projects attached to it.

But the Senate which adopted the report of its   Joint Committee on Finance, National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation that worked on the Revised 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) paper forwarded to the National Assembly in December last year by President Jonathan, called for scrapping of the vote after its transfer to relevant MDAs

In the report presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Ahmad Makarfi ( PDP Kaduna North), N63 billion earlier earmarked under the vote for Presidential Amnesty Programme is recommended for transfer to the Ministry of Niger Delta.

Also, the N22billion provision made under the vote for internal operations of the armed forces, is recommended for transfer to the budget votes of the Ministry of Defence just as all sums under the votes provided as arrears of pension and gratuity, are recommended for reclassification under relevant heads.

Aside the Service Wide Votes, the Senate through the adopted report, also made drastic cuts on other earlier votes proposed by the executive.

One of such votes is the total expenditure framework of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme ( Sure-P) reviewed downward from N102.50billion   to N21.03billion.

Also revised downward was subsidy for Premium Motor Spirit ( PMS) otherwise known as petrol from N200billion to N100billion, projected subsidy sum on Kerosene from N91.08billion to N45.52billion.

Similarly the entire Recurrent expenditure profile of the N4.3trillion 2015 budget , was also reduced from N2, 616.01trillion to N2, 584.08trillion just as Total Statutory Transfers sums were reduced from N411.85 billion to N363.27billion .

However, the total capital expenditure earlier proposed in the budget was increased from N633.53billion to N700.78billion just as the total non-oil revenue is increased from N3, 539.07trillion to N4, 024.11trillion.

Other critical highlights of the adopted report are the new parameters fixed for the entire budget profile like $52 per barrel as oil price bench mark as against $65 per barrel proposed by the executive.Exchange rate of N190 to a US dollar as against N160 to a US dollar proposed by the executive.

However, the crude oil production of 2, 327.1million barrel per day was sustained along with that of 2016 projected to be 2, 406.7million barrel per day.

During general debates of the report, many of the Senators who contributed concurred to total scrapping of the Service Wide Votes provisions in the budget which they described as nothing but conduit pipe being used by the executive since the President Olusegun Obasanjo era to siphon money from the national purse.

Senator Solomon Ita Enang ( PDP Akwa Ibom North East) in his own contribution, said the provision of Service Wide Vote in the nation’s budget over the years, serves no any good purpose but rather used for illegalities or matters not legally allowed by the executive.


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