With Matthew Denis
Senate President Bukola Saraki has said he “sometimes wonders” if technocrats want to embarrass the Federal Government.
He said this in reaction to the assumptions the N8.6 trillion 2018 budget proposal is predicated on.
Citing an example, the senate president wondered why the budget would be predicated on 2.3 million barrels per day when the country has only been able to record 1.9 million barrels per day in 2017.
He lamented that even with the increase in oil price, the government had not been able to remit money into the excess crude account.
“This year we only did 1.9 million barrels per day and the budget is predicated on 2.3 million, the concern is how realistic is that going to be,” Saraki said.
“If you look at the past two months where oil price has been as high as $60, the reports from FAAC is that they have not been able to put any money in the excess crude account.
“The only reason is that it must be that oil production is much less than what we are budgeting for. I think this is an area we need to look at seriously, it must be that the level of theft and vandalism still going on is very high and it is not being properly reported.
“Secondly, my concern, and I’m happy that we are debating it, is the independent revenue. If we all look at our figures, the budget was one hundred and eighty something billion but in nine months we only did 185 meanwhile we are budgeting eight hundred and something for 2018. How realistic is that? Sometimes I wonder if technocrats want to embarrass government and try to do some things knowing it can’t work.”
The senate president also decried that the recurrent expenditure of ministries department and agencies (MDAs) “have started creeping up again.
He said: “It was well managed but I have noticed an increase. My concern is that government has effectively been able to block leakages in capital expenditure then maybe people have now moved to recurrent and personnel expenditure.”