Finance minister shuns Senate panel twice to defend budget performance – ORDER PAPER

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OrderPaperToday – For the second time in two weeks, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, failed to show up to defend the performance of the 2020 budget despite invitation by the Senate committee on Appropriation, the Chairman of the committee, Barau Jibrin has said.

Equally absent were the Accountant-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, and the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.

The meeting, which ought to have held two weeks ago, was postponed following request from the Minister of Finance and the DG of the Budget Office.

Briefing journalists on Thursday, Jibrin queried the absence of the key economic and budget planners.

He said: “We have invited Minister of Finance and Director General of Budget office in order to have a brief about 2020 budget performance, this is the second time we are scheduling this meeting.

“We are here and we are supposed to hold this meeting two weeks ago, but we postponed the meeting at the instance of Minister of Finance and the Director General of Budget Office.

“But today still they are not able to come, we are supposed to start this meeting for 2pm,but we are here fifteen minutes after three, we are yet to see them.

“We don’t know the reason, we have being told that the Accountant General is on his way, but we have not heard anything from the Minister of Finance.”

The panel then resolved to reschedule the meeting for another day.

Jibrin also highlighted the importance of the meeting stressing that it is an exercise mandated by the 1999 constitution.

“The budget performance is something that is dear to us, very important, it is part of the mandate of this committee. The budget means nothing, if not implemented.

“It is part of our mandate to always oversight what is going on about budget performance, particularly this time that we want the economy to be fully up and running after the lock down due to Covid-19, but it is unfortunate that they are not here, we will find out why they are not here,” he added.

Recall that the red chamber on the 10th of June 2020 passed the revised 2020 budget of N10.8 trillion.

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