By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) saddled with the responsibility of generating revenues for government to work hard to meet targets or be sanctioned.
The President issued the warning after he signed the 2021 Appropriation Bill of N13.588 trillion and the 2020 Finance Bill into law at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
He said: “We are intensifying our domestic revenue mobilisation efforts so that we can have adequate resources to fund the 2021 Budget.
“Revenue generating agencies and all MDAs must work very hard to achieve their revenue targets, control their cost-to-revenue ratios, as well as ensure prompt and full remittance of revenue collections.
“Relevant agencies are to ensure the realisation of our crude oil production and export targets. Heads of defaulting Agencies are hereby warned that they will be severely sanctioned.
“I also appeal to our fellow citizens and the business community to fulfil their tax obligations promptly.’’
Buhari expressed delight that despite disruptions occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, 2020 Budget implementation passed previous thresholds.
“In spite of the adverse impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s economy and government’s revenues, we have made appreciable progress in the implementation of the 2020 Budget.
“As at Dec. 2020, we had released about N1.748 trillion out of a total of the N1.962 trillion voted for the implementation of critical capital projects, representing a performance of about Eight-Nine-Point-One Percent (89.1%).
“The overall performance of the 2020 Budget currently stands at an impressive rate of 97.7 per cent.
“This commendable outcome underscores the importance of our efforts, together with the Legislature, to return to the discipline of a January-to-December fiscal year,’’ he added.
He announced that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning would provide further details on the 2020 Budget’s performance, in due course.
The president commended the National Assembly for completing “the important appropriation process in good time.”
According to him, the passage of the 2021 Federal Budget before the commencement of the 2021 fiscal year is in confirmation of his administration’s resolve to maintain a predictable January-December fiscal year, as provided for, in the Constitution.
Speaking to State House correspondents shortly after the president signed the budget, Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would approve any loan request made by the president in as much as it would be for the overall interest of the nation.
He said that the National Assembly would continue to partner with other arms of government toward providing dividends of democracy to the citizens.
“Let me thank the Almighty God for making it possible for the National Assembly to work on the 2021 Appropriation Bill and pass it before the end of December.
“Alongside the Appropriation Bill 2021, we also passed the 2020 Finance Bill amendment.
“Today, the President signed both the Finance Bill 2020 which is now an Act as well as the Appropriation Bill 2021 which is also now Appropriation Act 2021.
“It is very important that the members of the National Assembly, Senators, members of the House of Representatives are commended for keeping this January to December budget cycle alive.’’(NAN)