Home / News / Dogara replies Buhari: we did not mutilate your budget

Dogara replies Buhari: we did not mutilate your budget

Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara

 

The House of Representatives has denied that it made drastic changes to the 2018 budget without paying due regard to logic behind the Constitutional direction and how critical proposed budgets is to national economy.

The National Assembly had on May 16 passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill, increasing the proposal of N8.612 trillion presented by President Buhari last December to N9.120 trillion.

While signing the budget at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Muhammmadu Buhari accused the lawmakers of not only delaying the budget, but also made unnecessary cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects he submitted for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.

Buhari stated he was concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly had made to the budget proposals he presented.

But Speaker of the House of Reps, Mr Yakubu Dogara said the additional costs and projects to the budget were done in good faith for the sole purpose of improving the lives of Nigerians.

“we have to remind Mr. President that we are representatives of our people and wish to state that even the common man deserves a mention in the budget by including projects that will directly affect his life positively. Some of the projects designed by the executive, as high-sounding as their names suggest, do not meet the needs of the common man”, Dogara stated.

According to the president, “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.”

President Buhari emphasised that many of the projects cut were critical “and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.”

He explained that some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly had not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and would therefore be difficult to execute.

He also stated that many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly had been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

“As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.

Please read Dogara’s response to the President’s Budget signing speech below.

The Speaker in a statement signed by Hon Abdulrazak Namdas, Chairman, House Committee on Media & Publicity, and made available to ElombahNews stated that the National Assembly should not be blamed for the delay in passing the Budget proposals into law.

“There were delays that should be blamed on the heads of MDAs. Mr. President will recall that he had to direct ministers and heads of agencies to go to the National Assembly to defend their proposals.

“This came after the National Assembly had persistently raised the alarm over the non-cooperative attitudes of these government officials. On this grounds, the delay in passing the budget cannot be blamed on the legislature.”

The House of Representatives is appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari in signing the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law and wish to make the following observations:

1. That the budget is usually a proposal by the Executive to the National Assembly, which the latter is given the constitutional power of appropriation to alter, make additions, costs or reduce as it may deem necessary. The Legislature is not expected to be a rubber-stamp by simply approving the Executive proposals and returning the budget to Mr. President. Therefore, the additions Mr. President complained of in his speech are justifiable.

2. We are on the same page with Mr. President in his desire to return our budget cycle to January-December. By the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the budget estimates should be with the National Assembly around September of the year. In the case of the 2018 budget, the estimates came behind schedule in November 2017, even though this attempt was seen as one of the earliest in recent years. Going forward, we urge the Executive to speed up the reporting time to the National Assembly by complying fully with the FRA.

3. Besides, there were delays that should be blamed on the heads of MDAs. Mr. President will recall that he had to direct ministers and heads of agencies to go to the National Assembly to defend their proposals. This came after the National Assembly had persistently raised the alarm over the non-cooperative attitudes of these government officials. On this grounds, the delay in passing the budget cannot be blamed on the legislature.

4. New projects in budget. On this aspect, we have to remind Mr. President that we are representatives of our people and wish to state that even the common man deserves a mention in the budget by including projects that will directly affect his life positively. Some of the projects designed by the executive, as high-sounding as their names suggest, do not meet the needs of the common man.

4. National Assembly budget. Before 2015, the budget of the National Assembly was N150billion for several years. It was cut down to N120bn in 2015 and further down to N115bn in 2016. In 2017, the budget was N125bn and N139.5bn in 2018. This means that the budget of the National Assembly is still far below the N150bn in the years before 2015.

While we commend Mr. President for a good working relationship, we also wish to state that we have a job to do, which requires adequate funding as well. The additional costs and projects to the budget were done in good faith for the sole purpose of improving the lives of Nigerians.

5. Finally, we welcome the proposal by Mr. President to forward a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to address other areas of pressing demands and commend the President and the entire executive arm for a cordial working relationship.

Check Also

Gov Udom Emmanuel

COVID 19: GOV EMMANUEL ANNOUNCES 14 DAYS TOTAL LOCKDOWN IN AKWA IBOM #COVID19Pandemic

Following the confirmation of five suspected cases of the dreaded Corona Virus in Akwa Ibom …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *