Reps vow to boycott Jonathan’s budget presentation

FILE PHOTO: House of Representative in session

Members of the House of Representatives have vowed to boycott President Goodluck Jonathan’s budget presentation next Thursday, in a fresh phase of continued tension between the executive and the lawmakers over budget implementation.

The House had earlier announced a week-long suspension of its sitting to allow members assess the extent of the implementation of the 2012 budget, the same week Mr. Jonathan notified he will be presenting the 2013 spending details to a joint Senate and House in plenary.

Lawmakers said on Thursday that the field evaluation will continue despite the president’s notification, and urged a reschedule of the presentation to avoid a boycott.

“The House is not ready because they are still working on the 2012 budget,” the spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed, said after a unanimous House vote on the matter.

Mr. Zakari said the proposed budget presentation will be “unrealistic” if the date remains the same. He said the president is aware of the House timeline.

The House and the Executive have had months of tense relationship over the implementation of the budget. Last week, the spokesperson broached briefly on the possibility of the House rejecting altogether the 2013 presentation if its impression of the field performance was not positive.

By Thursday, the degree of implementation remained dismal, Abdulmumin Jubrin, Chairman House Committee on Finance said at a meeting with the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, and the Director General of the Budget Office, Bright Okogwu.
The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, who presided over the Thursday plenary, pledged to liaise with the leadership of the Senate to arrive at a compromise on the budget presentation.

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