Posted by News Express | 5 February 2014 | 2,526 times
In what appears to be a compliance of the directives of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to block all executive bills, the APC lawmakers have vowed not to touch the budget as, according to them, they were given only the summary of the budget and as such it is against their laws to treat the budget.
The drama started when the leader of the House, Mulikat Akande Adeola read the bill for consideration, and a point of order was raised by Rep. Emmanuel Jime (APC Benue), noting that it is the violation of section 21 subsection (1) 2 &3 of the provision of the fiscal responsibility act.
According to him, “What we have here is a purported summary of the budget and the law required that the full estimate must accompany the budget to the House before the House could start debate on it.”
He argued that the House as a lawmaking body has the responsibility to draw the attention of the Executive whenever they run foul of the law and should not be seen to be condoning constitutional breaches.
Jime argued that in as much as the parliament had in the past allowed the Executive to violate the constitution and go scot free, the time has come for the trend to be stopped.
“Mr. Speaker, people would argue that the budget is such an important segment that affects the lives of Nigerians but do we continue to flout the law?
“Mr. Speaker, in order to avoid a repetition of the missing $10.8b non-remittance by the NNPC, there is the need for us to know the budget estimate before debating it, that would give us the actual amount of allocation to each ministry and MDA before we go for oversight.”
Another point of order was raised by Rep. John Enoh (PDP Cross River); he argued that the budget estimate is a matter of prominence and has been the tradition of the House to debate on the Summary of the budget before the estimate were made available to the House.
At this point, the Speaker again mitigated a simmering showdown by mandating the chairmen and deputies of the committees on Rules and Business: Albert Sam-Tsokwa (PDP, Taraba) and Sunday Adepoju (APC, Oyo), Justice: Ali Ahmed (APC, Kwara) and Chukwuemeke Nwaogbo (APGA, Anambra) and as well as Judiciary: Aminu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) and Ken Chikere (PDP, Rivers), to study the matter and report to the House within 24 hours.
Meanwhile the speaker announced on the floor that the House would suspend plenary for two days (Wednesday and Thursday), to allow the members of the APC to go to their constituencies for their nationwide membership registration.
•Credit (except for amended headline): Daily Trust.
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