More trouble: House of Representatives threatens to ignore 2013 budget

by Stanley Azuakola

In an unprecedented move, the House of Representatives, on Friday, vowed not to treat the 2013 budget proposal until it was satisfied with the implementation of the 2012 budget. Consequently, members of the house turned down the request of President Goodluck Jonathan to lay the 2013 budget proposal next Thursday.

This is the first time that the National Assembly would take such a drastic action in protest against the executive’s implementation of the budget in the thirteen years since the return of democracy.

In other to allow its committees further carry out proper over-sight functions the House has suspended plenary for the whole of next week. They will use that time to visit Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.

The resolution of the house was passed after a debate on the letter sent by the Presidency and read by Speaker Aminu Tambuwal during Tuesday plenary.

According to a Vanguard report:

Tambuwal, who presided over yesterday’s plenary, pledged to liaise with the leadership of the Senate with a view to reaching a compromise on the budget presentation.

The legislators  had, during the debate on the letter, unanimously agreed that the budget proposal should be suspended until the House concludes its findings.

Speaking on the resolution, Abdulmumin Jubrin, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, who chaired the interactive session with Federal Ministry of Finance led by Yerima Ngama, Minister of State for Finance and Bright Okogwu, Director General of Budget Office, explained that the resolution was passed at plenary.

Jubrin who briefed the House on some of the issues raised during the ongoing interactive session with MDAs, bemoaned the state of budget implementation.

The lawmakers had on resumption from the eight-week annual recess decried the poor level of 2012 budget implementation and issued ultimatum to the executive to ensure timely release of funds approved for execution of capital projects to MDAs without further delay.

They also urged the President to direct Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance to release the third quarter for 2012.

During the debate on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Strategy Paper sent to both chambers last week, the lawmakers expressed concern over the absymal implementation of the 2012 budget despite increase in the revenue generation accruing to Federal Government.

Also briefing journalists yesterday, spokesman of the House, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, explained that plenary was suspended to ensure “a proper implementation of the 2012 Appropriation before we look into the 2013 budget.

“We made it clear immediately we resumed from our annual recess that we shall embark on a one-week inspection of MDAs. So the President cannot present the budget on October 4.

“Hopefully, the House will resume on October 9, then we can look into it and see what can be done. Presenting the budget on October 4 is unrealistic.“

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