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Supplementary Budget debate suffers setback in Senate

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Image: victor ndoma egba



The Senate yesterday deferred the consideration of the 2013 Supplementary Appropriation Bill indefinitely.

Though consideration of the bill was listed in the Order paper, Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, told his colleagues that the lead debate of the bill was not ready.

Ndoma-Egba moved that the bill be stood down for another legislative day.

He was unanimously supported by his colleagues.

President Goodluck Jonathan submitted a bill for an Act to amend the 2013 Appropriation Act to authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation a total of N4,987,382,196,690 in March for the consideration and approval of the National Assembly.

The amendment sought by Jonathan, observers said, might re-enact a fresh round of bickering between the National Assembly and the Presidency.

The President reluctantly signed the 2013 budget in February and shortly after in March, forwarded a memorandum to the National Assembly seeking an amendment of the Appropriation Act.

Jonathan accused the lawmakers of over reaching their powers by including clauses that might be injurious to the spirit of separation of powers in the budget.

He insisted that the affected clauses could hamper the work of the Executive if not expunged.

Apart from seeking an amendment of the 2013 Budget, Jonathan also asked the lawmakers to amend the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) budget as passed.

His listed three clauses, which, according to him, impinged on the separation of powers and could hamper the work of the Executive.

He demanded a cut on the provisions made for personnel cost across the service and change of some provisions voted for capital projects.

Though Jonathan explained that the proposed amendment was the outcome of various consultative meetings with the leadership and committees of the National Assembly following the passage of the budget, the submission of an amendment bill did not go down well with some Senators

Jonathan said it became neccesary that certain provisions, including cuts to personnel cost across the service and provisions for some capital projects be changed through an amended budget.

The insertions, Jonathan said, included Clause 6(ii) which states: “The Accountant-General of the Federation shall forward to the National Assembly full details of funds released to the government agencies immediately, such funds are released;” while Clause 9 states: “All Accounting Officers of Ministries, Parastatals and Department of Government who control heads of expenditures shall upon the coming into effect of this Act, furnish the National Assembly on quarterly basis with detailed information on the Internally Generated Revenue of the agency in any form whatsoever.

Both clauses run counter to established chain of reporting, Jonathan said.

Also there are indications that the House of Representatives may return the 2013 amendment budget sent to it by the President.

Though the House has said that it will take a decision on if or not to consider the 2013 amendment budget sent to it by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday next week, there is the possibility the budget may not be touched at all.

Speaking with reporters during a briefing at the National Assembly yesterday, the spokesman of the House, Zakari Mohammed, gave this subtle indication when he said members were on oversight, and some, especially the ANPP and CPC members are preparing for their conventions.


Article Credit: The Nation Newspaper

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Updated 6 Years ago

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