SPEAKER of House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Constitutional Amendment Bill which provides for Appropriation Bill submission to National Assembly in September.
Dogara made the call in his remarks at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, after a three-week recess by the national assembly.
He said that as the bill had not been signed, “any talk of an orderly appropriation process will be mere cheap talk’’.
The amendment bill stipulates that the President shall prepare and lay before each House of the National Assembly, estimates of revenue and expenditure 90 days before the end of the fiscal year.
The bill was transmitted to the President along with other constitutional amendment bills, some of which he has assented to.
“It is as a result of this that the national assembly proposed an amendment to the section to require the President to submit the Appropriation Bill not later than 90 days to the end of the financial year.
“The President has not yet signed this bill which is so critical to an orderly appropriation process.
“Let me use this opportunity to remind the President of the fact that if this bill doesn’t become law, any talk of an orderly appropriation process will be mere cheap talk.
“It is important to reiterate once again that the national assembly has the constitutional powers, duty and responsibility to intervene in the budgeting process to ensure equity and federal character.
“It also entails even distribution of projects and amenities as direct representatives of the people,’’ Dogara said.
He added that it was important to emphasise that the 2018 budget benefitted from active cooperation and consultation between the executive and legislature during the appropriation process.
“No doubt, Nigeria’s budgeting processes are in need of further reforms.
“That is why the National Assembly took the bold initiative to introduce the budget process bill that is expected to lay out timelines that will guide the appropriation process from conception to passage.
“But, for this bill to be passed, section (81) subsection (1) which gives the President power to prepare and lay before the National Assembly estimates of revenue and expenditure in the financial year, must be amended,” he said.
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