_ap_ufes{"success":true,"siteUrl":"tribuneonlineng.com","urls":{"Home":"http://tribuneonlineng.com","Category":"http://tribuneonlineng.com/category/a-healthy-heart/","Archive":"http://tribuneonlineng.com/2016/12/","Post":"http://tribuneonlineng.com/dangote-set-crash-price-rice/","Page":"http://tribuneonlineng.com/newsletter-signup/","Attachment":"http://tribuneonlineng.com/?attachment_id=45364","Nav_menu_item":"http://tribuneonlineng.com/43822/"}}_ap_ufee

Senate rejects FIRS budget over ‘padding’

•Suspends work on amendment of Sovereign Wealth Fund •Agencies must prevent padding in 2017, it warns

THE Senate, on Thursday, rejected the N143 billion 2016 budget of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), over allegations of repetitions and padding.

The Senate came hard on the Committee on Finance, headed by Senator John Enoh, which presented the budget for consideration, declaring that the committee did a shoddy job when it failed to identify the serious alleged padding in the document.

The lawmakers also stepped down its legislative work on the consideration of an amendment to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, in July, forwarded the budget of 36 agencies to the National Assembly for consideration.

But the Senate, on Thursday, discovered what it called serious contradictions in the FIRS budget.

The document submitted to the Senate also contained an excess fund of N2.2 billion, which was not captured in the budget.

Though the document presented to the Senate showed that the total FIRS budget for 2016 is N143 billion, the document also stated that the agency had a total of N146 billion.

It stated that the sum of N2.2 billion was from a 20 per cent of 2015 operating surplus.

The senate blamed Senator Enoh for simply presenting the budget as forwarded by the president, adding that the document was full of duplication and padding.

The lawmakers also warned agencies of government to desist from padding budgets in the 2017 budget circle.

According to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, the Senate was worried that the document presented by Senator Enoh was just the same as the one sent to the Senate by President Buhari.

Sources in the Senate told the Nigerian Tribune that the Senate rejected the FIRS budget due to the poor preparation.

Some of the contentious subheads in the FIRS budget included the proposal for N2.3 billion for purchase of vehicles and another N5.1 billion for purchase of furniture and equipment.

The FIRS also budgeted the sum of N5.5 billion for acquisition of land and building and N3 billion for construction of new  office projects and another N4 billion for rehabilitation and repairs.

The agency also budgeted another N415 million for the same rehabilitation and repairs of new offices in another subhead.

The Senate also frowned on the provision of N555 million for infrastructure and ICT, as well as another N2.06 billion for ongoing infrastructure projects.

The agency also provided the sum of N440 million for office materials and supplies and another N68 million for library books and periodicals, as well as the sum of N530 million for computer materials and supplies.

The agency equally budgeted N1.9 billion for printing of non-security documents, while it also approved N25 million for printing of security documents.

The Senate was also alarmed that the FIRS proposed the sum of N170 million for maintenance  of plants and generating sets while it also approved N750 million for generating sets fuel cost as well as another N700 million for motor vehicle fuel cost.

Saraki, who presided over the sitting, decried the late submission of the budget, adding that padding was always encouraged by late submission.

He also warned that budgets of the agencies should henceforth get to the National Assembly not later than the first quarter of the year.

“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 right thing is done,” he said.