President Goodluck Jonathan said on Friday that he would sack all Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who lobbied the National Assembly to distort the 2012 budget. The President stated this in his remarks shortly after signing the 2012 appropriation bill into law at the State House in Abuja. Mr. Jonathan said the attitude of MDAs lobbying for increase of their budget by the National Assembly had been responsible for the difficulties in budget implementation. He said that he already had security information on some heads of Parastatals and Agencies who lobbied the National Assembly to increase the 2012 Budget and says he will make scapegoats of them. “One of the greatest problems I have noticed from the day I resumed office as a vice president in 2007 till date is that Federal Government budgets have not been based on proper planning. “In most cases, when the budget comes out from the Planning Ministry and Finance, along the line, people distort the budget, especially some heads of MDAs go to lobby the National Assembly to put figures that are not based on planning. “And that is why it has been very difficult for federal government to achieve targets.
“This year, we clearly frowned at it and I am going to use some heads of parastatals – I got security reports – that came to lobby for their budgets to be increased; I will use some people as an example. I will ask them to leave because we cannot run a country without planning. “We cannot run a budget that is not based on planning because these figures don’t just come from the blues, people sat down and compute figures and see how it fits into fiscal responsibility and other issues. “So we will not allow a situation where one person, because of personal interest will distort the budget of a nation,’’ the president said. He pleaded with the National Assembly to always resist overtures from heads of MDAs to increase their budgets. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a total of N4.749 trillion budget proposal based on a benchmark oil price of 70 dollars per barrel was presented to the National Assembly.
However, the National Assembly on March 15, passed the budget of N4.697 trillion on a benchmark oil price of 72 dollars per barrel. The increase in the benchmark from 70 to 72 dollars yielded for the Federal Government at least N98.4 billion. The National Assembly had appropriated N50 billion out of a N98.4 billion increase to reduce the budget deficit. The balance of N48.4 billion was allotted to some MDAs for specific projects. Meanwhile, the president has assured the country that the 2013 appropriation bill would be sent to that National Assembly not later than September to ensure its passage before the end of the year. To achieve this, President Jonathan said he has already directed his Chief of Staff to ensure that MDAs defend their budget proposals before him between May and June. He said the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office would fine tune the budget between July and August before submitting it to the National Assembly in September. The president said the delay in the presentation of the 2012 budget was an outcome of the political activities in the year. “This year we had challenges because of course, we have a transitional programme that is coming on 29th of May. “New ministers were appointed and the budget had to be prepared and so it was quite choking. “And we believe that next year, we will do much better than this.’’ The president thanked the National Assembly and other stakeholders for their co-operation and hard work in the passage of the 2012 budget.