Lawan talks tough, says ‘MDAs must defend their budget Oct 29’


Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, announced that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) must appear to defend their budget latest by October 29.
Lawan said this, following the second reading of the 2020 Appropriation Bill and the immediate refer of the bill to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for further legislative inputs.
The senate also mandated the committee to report back to plenary in two weeks time.
Lawan said that the window for budget defence for MDA’s would end by Oct 29,noting that any MDA that failed to appear before the said date should forget about budget defence.
He also advised the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to present its budget on time.
He said that failure to present the budget would amount to the non provision of funds for the commission to spend in the 2020 fiscal year.
He said that the senate would no longer tolerate MDAs who spend funds without appropriation.
According to him, all MDAs must defend their budget before end of October.
He said the senate had put November 5, as timeline for the conclusion of matters relating to budget defence.
He urged all senate committees to work closely with the appropriation committee to meet the set date.
He said that it was time for national assembly to show that it could pass the budget before the end of 2019.
Lawan, however, noted that revenue generation was a major issue in implementing the nation’s budget over the years, noting that the senate would continue to engage revenue generating agencies on their activities in revenue generation.
He said that the agencies must periodically update the senate on their revenue generating activities.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari had forwarded the Finance Bill 2019 for consideration and passage by the National Assembly.
The bill which seeks to enact fiscal measures supporting the 2020 budget is in pursuant to section 58 and 59 of the 1999 constitution as amended was sent via a letter to President of the Senate.
The finance bill 2019 proposes incremental but necessary changes to Nigeria taxes and fiscal laws to ensure optimal funding of 2020 budget.
According to Buhari, the finance bill has five strategic objectives.
He listed the objectives to include, promotion of fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation and reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practice.
He said that the bill was designed to introduce the tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets.
The president said that the bill would also help support micro, small and medium size businesses in line with the ease of doing business reforms and raising revenues for government.
According to him, the finance bill proposes an increase of the Value added Tax (VAT) rate from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.
He expressed believe that the bill would receive expeditious passage of the senate

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