By Alfred Olufemi
Babajide Omoworare, the senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, has condemned the ‘usual’ delay in the passage of budget in Nigeria.
Speaking at a lecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, on Wednesday, Mr Omoworare said, “If the legislative arm of government can hold on to the budget for months, then there is something wrong with the legislative arm.”
“One of the functions of the legislative arm is checks and balances, but it does not have to be at the detriment of the citizens,” he said.
Mr Omoworare is the chairman of the Senate committee on rules and business, one of the vital committees of the legislature, which is responsible for the scheduling of the daily order of motions, bills, other matters of legislative deliberations and debate in the upper chamber.
The lawmaker, who spoke briefly at the event titled; “Nigeria yesterday, today and tomorrow. The adequate effect of legislation on the Nigerian economic system”, promised the participants a detailed analysis if invited for subsequent programmes at the university.
“Another programme will be hosted and I will bring the past budgets, the next one and we will deliberate on it.”
The keynote speaker, Omosola Arawomo, a lecturer from the Department of Economics in OAU, spoke about the importance of legislature in order to have a stabilised economy.
“For a country to have a good economy, she must recognise the role of the legislature. I cannot say which has a more important role to play between the executive and the legislature but what I can tell you is the legislative arm has a very important role to play in order to stabilise Nigerian economy.”
The scholar noted that an economy that must grow must have an effective and adequate legislation. “When there is no effective budget, there will be economic shut down,” he added.
Meanwhile, participants who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, derided the lawmaker’s comments. They said he (Mr Omoworare) cannot be exempted from the blame in the delay in budget passage.
“My own view is that, in a sane country this should not be happening. But the thing is, he is a legislator, what is he doing about it?
“He cannot just come here and do the talking. Let him raise pertinent issues like this in the plenary,” Peter Oyebanji, an Accounting student, stated.
“Issues like the ridiculous amount of money they earn along with issues like this, he should raise it. We do not just want actions on Twitter and in conferences, let them do where they are paid to (do).”
Another student of Political Science, Adewole Lekan, said; “He has a point but still does not make him different from other politician in the NASS. Why did he not talk about the ridiculous money they earn monthly? They are all birds of a feather.”
It should be recalled that the 2018 Appropriation Bill was approved by the National Assembly seven months after the president, Muhammadu Buhari, presented the documents to the legislative arm.
Also, the president presented the budget of N8.612 trillion to the parliament for passage in November 2017 but the National Assembly raised the estimate to N9.12 trillion.
The Senate, however, laid the blame on members of Mr Buhari’s cabinet and the ministries, departments and agencies under their portfolios, for the delay in the passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill.
The delay in the passage of the 2018 budget was a cause of concern to many Nigerians especially experts in various fields, who spoke on the adverse effect on the nation’s economy, PREMIUM TIMES reported.