The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment bill which mandates the executive to submit budget proposals early to the National Assembly.
Mr Dogara, in his remarks to welcome the lawmakers from their Sallah break, said so long as the bill is not signed into law, any talk of an orderly appropriations process would be mere ‘cheap talk’.
He stated this in response to President Buhari’s remarks that lawmakers mutilated the 2018 budget and also delayed its passage.
“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 appropriations process.”
“Let me use this opportunity to remind Mr President of the fact that if this bill does not become law, any talk of an orderly appropriations process would be mere cheap talk.”
Mr. Dogara reiterated that the National Assembly has the constitutional powers, duty and responsibility to intervene in the budgeting process to ensure equity, federal character and even distribution of projects and amenities to every part of the country.
“It is also important to emphasise that the 2018 budget benefitted from active cooperation and consultation between the executive and legislature during the ppropriation process.
“No doubt, Nigeria’s budgeting processes is in need of further reforms and that is why the National Assembly took the bold initiative to introduce the udget Process Bill that is expected to lay out, timelines that will guide the appropriations process from conception to passage.”
He called on the House committees to process all pending legislative measures before them and ensure expeditious consideration as they enter the twilight of their legislative mandate.
“We already have a record number of bills, resolutions and public petitions passed more than any other assembly before us and we can do even more in the remaining period of our tenure.”
The bill when signed into law, will compel the executive to prepare and lay before the National Assembly estimates of revenue and expenditure 90 days before the end of the fiscal year.
It was transmitted to the president along with other constitutional amendment bills some of which have been assented to by Mr Buhari.