Budget modification by NASS is lawful, says PPA Chairman

Budget modification by NASS is lawful, says PPA Chairman

Thursday, June 21, 2018 12:08 am


The National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), Chief Peter Ameh has said that the modification of items in the 2018 budget by the National Assembly was done within the ambit law.

Ameh on Wednesday in Abuja told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the National Assembly should not be expected to be a rubber stamp institution, saying whatever they did was in the interest of Nigeria.
Ameh was reacting to concerns raised by President Muhamadu Buhari while assenting to 2018 budget passed by that the National Assembly.
He said the National Assembly had done the right thing by inviting Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) for budget defence before arriving at final decision.
“For some people or individuals to continue to think that the National Assembly will continue to be a rubber stamp baffles me, because you cannot take everything hook-line and thinker.
“The Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) were invited to defend the budget and the lawmakers looked at it from all angles.
“Just like the House of Representatives actually responded that everything they did was in accordance with the law and the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended, there is no cause for alarm. In democracy it is a give and take approach.
“One thing that people should not forget is that the constitutional role of the National Assembly is to make laws for the good governance and development of Nigeria,’’ Ameh said.
He added: “So whatever they are adding is for the good and development of the country.
“They are not adding to the budget so that a bore hole will be drilled in the compound of the President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki or that a story building should be erected in the farm of the Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara.
“These things have been added for the purpose of the populace so we should not be bickering over these things at all.’’
NAN recalls that before signing the budget, at the Presidential Villa, Buhari picked hole with the action of the lawmakers, observing that some of the new provisions in the budget were not properly processed.
According to the president, I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that I presented.
‘’The logic behind the constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the executive is that it is the executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.
“Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me.
“The National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
‘’An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by N14.5 billion, from N125 billion to N139.5 billion without any discussion with the executive,” he noted.
Buhari, however, said he decided to sign the budget in order not to further slow down the pace of recovery of the nation’s economy, which had doubtlessly been affected by the delay in passing the budget.
Ameh advised that if there were important items on the budget that the President thought that the lawmakers had removed that should be retained, he should send a supplementary appropriation bill to the NASS for consideration.
“We are not in a luck jam in anything that could give anybody high pressure either in the National Assembly or the executive because governance is a continuous process.’’
On the delay in the passage of the budget, Ameh called for early presentation of budget proposal to the National Assembly if government must achieved a budget with life span of January to December.
“I believe if the government want to achieve the January to December framework, by now the 2019 budget should have been sent to the National Assembly.’’
The PPA National Chairman also called for adequate cash backing for the signed budget saying his concern is not when the budget is passed or signed.
“My concern is the performance of the budget itself. None of our budget has performed above 40 per cent. That is the major problem that we always have.
“There is not always cash backing for some of our budgetary provisions.
“You go to the ministries after the budget had been passed they don’t have money to execute the itemised projects and in the next budget the same amount will be earmarked for the same project.’’
He advised Buhari to set up strong National Economic Team that would ensure that MDAS get their monies and also monitor the implementations in order to have global standard on implementation.

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.