Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Jimmy Fatunbi

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio has charged the revenue generating agencies of government to gear up for the successful implementation of the 2024 budget that is yet being processed.

He specifically tasked them to plug loopholes of leakages and wastages for an improved revenue drive.

Akpabio spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at a stakeholders retreat, organised by the Senate Committee on Appropriations, on the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

The Senate President was satisfied with the attendance of ministers and other top government officials at the retreat.

Speaking towards the close of the event, Akpabio said: “So far its being a great success but the icing on the cake will be the implementation of the budget itself.

“My message is very simple. Revenue drive. Revenue drive and Revenue drive. We cannot achieve much unless all the revenue agencies rise to the occasion. Because no matter how beautiful the budget is, if there is no money to spend, the budget will not work.

“That’s the main message that I have. Let’s gear up and go out there, plug the loophole of leakages and wastages and bring more revenues that the 2024 budget will be more realistic.

“I must also say that even from the actions of the ministers today, they have already answered a few questions: Can we do it? Can we pass the budget in record time? The National Assembly, both the House of Representatives and Senate, we are very determined and then we want to make sure that we continue with the January to December budgetary cycle.

“But a lot depends on the ministers, MDAs and the revenue spenders. If you don’t come on time to defend your estimates, there is no way we can pass the budget on time.”

Also responding to an earlier remarks by the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun who flew in from the COP28 in Dubai for the retreat, the Senate President said “Your remarks here have answered a lot of questions regarding the trip to Dubai. While you were away, a lot of people were worried about the size of the contingent to Dubai.

“For me, immediately after the COP28 Heads of Government meeting, the parliamentary aspect starts. I think it actually starts today. So I’m supposed to deliver a paper tomorrow.

“I have been very worried how to talk to Nigerians that I am actually required there. The media report would have been 100 senators, 250 members of House of Representatives for the second batch.

“Realising that we have a task here to do, I have delegated that function to somebody from Cote d’Ivoire to deliver my paper for me. So I don’t think I will make it to Dubai. At least you would know that this budget is serious business and we are very serious about it.

“The starting point of the success of any administration is budgeting and the most important aspect is the revenue side. We have to spend what we have. We cannot spend what we do not have.”

Akpabio thanked all the participants at the retreat and assured them of the determination of the Tenth National Assembly under his leadership to ensure that “we think of the Nigerian people first and we budget for the Nigerian people and we make the laws that we favour the Nigerian people and we collaborate with the current administration’s determination to succeed.”

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