National Assembly has powers to tamper with budget — Dogara

House of Reps Speaker, Yakubu Dogara
House of Reps Speaker, Yakubu Dogara

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday said the National Assembly has powers to introduce new projects to the federal budget, or remove proposed items.

Mr. Dogara stated this while responding to a motion on matters of privilege moved by Lawal Abubakar (APC – Adamawa) at the plenary on Thursday.

The motion was in response to a statement credited to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who was quoted to have said on two occasions that the National Assembly had no powers to introduce new projects to the budget before passing it.

Mr. Dogara argued that the framers of the Constitution vested the powers of law making in the legislature, implementation in the executive, and interpretation in the judiciary.

“A declaration as to which of the arms has the power and rights, in as much as it is related to the interpretation of the law, is the function of the judiciary and not of the executive,” he said.

Mr. Dogara added that the Appropriation Act is a law enacted by the parliament and that public officers including the president and his ministers, had sworn to uphold the Constitution.

He said the refusal or failure to implement the budget is a violation of the Constitution which has consequences.

“We are men of honour. Whether legislators or executive, we are bound by the oath of office to faithfully execute that law and in the case of the executive, if it is not done, all of us know the very consequences. I don’t want to call it by its name, we know the consequences,” he said.

The Speaker also stated that in the event of refusal to assent to any bill by the Executive, the constitution empowers the National Assembly to override such veto in the interest of the public.

The Speaker added that the House under his leadership would not be a rubber-stamp to the Executive as it would do everything to uphold and protect the independence of the legislature.


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  • sheyman

    Mr dogara is saying this bcos he knows EFCC searchlight will soon get to him over budget padding. I can say that I have lost hope in this administration because: 1. The president is not in good health and has less time for the nation, 2. The judiciary have proved to be worst now since the creation of nigeria, 3. The legislative leadership will never support growth in as much as Magu will not let them rest. So unfortunate for buhari to have such change. I succumb at this point that fight against corruption may not work and the presidency should focus on other aspects of growth. It’s a shame for the country.

  • Tommy Soto

    Them wanna Chop Chop, get ready Mighty EFCC!

    • SAM .A

      why una leave this for efcc , go tell them in the house that it is wrong to add to budget that is signed .This is the reason this budget is delayed. it is June already, for a budget to be implemented in January.

      • Tommy Soto

        Sammy my friend. u make jokes that give me big laugh.
        go tell thieves to stop stealing, go tell criminals to stop committing crime on the pple/nation?
        the budget was signed a few days ago with House and Senate leaders in attendance with big smiles on dere faces.
        now the kleptomaniacs wanna use arcane language in the Constitution to make changes in a finished budget which will need borrowed funds to accomplish.
        the only way to deal with these cultists that call themselves legislatures is to dock and embarrass them in the public arena.

  • bigbang

    I understand the executive has approached the supreme court for clarification. My understanding is the executive proposes the budget. The lawmakers can only increase or decrease funding for projects. If they want a project they can approach the executive before the executive submits the budget bill to them. If that is not the case. We have to amend the constitution. Law makers don’t have the staff to do feasibility studies on projects or execute the projects. Why are they trying to do the job of the executive. Their job is to make laws..

  • SAM .A

    “National Assembly has powers to introduce new projects to the federal budget, or remove proposed items.” Not after is signed Dagorat . Nigerians wake up , u all made two much noise about budget paddling , now your elected reps have done it and tell u to your face , what will u do .
    You have elected covetous and cantankerous bunch into your senate and house of rep, now they have added 0.16 Trillions for themselves . This is bastardization of democracy .

  • tsunami1earthquake

    I have not seen the project proposed by the National Assembly to know what really has been the bone of contention. However, the Legislature is usually the watchdog of the Executive to make sure the latter doesn’t appropriate much power than is necessary to itself.

    And, in playing the role of the watchdog, it is the duty of the Legislature to make sure that projects that would benefit all sections of the nation are made part of the budget; and that the proposed budgetary allocations for these are as fair as possible. If there is any executive oversight in this direction, the Legislature would point this out and flag it before the Executive.

    With this situation, the Executive and the Legislature would have to discuss and come to an agreement. In other climes running the same presidential system as Nigeria, there have been occasions when the Legislature and the Executive disagreed even to a point when government activities could be shut down at some period of time. This scenario implied that a discussion or series of it must have taken place. So such disagreements do not in any way suggest that the Legislature is usurping the job of the Executive. It only shows that the Legislature is truly playing the watchdog role.

    I remember when some legal luminaries advised the acting president not to sign the 2017 budget because of what these luminaries detected as additional projects built in by the Legislature (what they called ‘budget padding’). I remember my humble self taking a different stand by advising the acting president to play it softly by calling for discussions with the officials of the National Assembly in order to come to a conclusion and normalize the ‘anomalies’.

    Then, not long after that, we heard that the acting president would sign the budget. The impression one had had at the time was that everything had been normalized. And, as we saw, there was fanfare and an almost carnival atmosphere where the acting president was surrounded by his staff and the principal officers of the National Assembly. And the acting president signed the 2017 budget!

    In what then looked like a typical Nollywood scenario, the acting president, a few days later, accused the National Assembly of budget padding or an inclusion of non-existing projects in the signed budget! And who should carry the blame for this? In my view, the acting president should be entirely blamed for this! How could he have gone ahead to sign a document he did not understand, or a document he had not read or had not the presence of mind to ask his subordinates to interpret for him?

    That was an executive blunder on the part of the acting president. An astute administrator would have sat with the National Assembly to resolve any lingering disputes arising from the budget. But events have now shown he did not. We are already beginning to see signs of inexperience on the part of the acting president.

    The acting president is seriously advised to read the workings of the kind of government system the nation practises. Maybe when his boss was on the saddle he, the acting president, did not have the presence of mind to study the system. After all, the system requires a vice president who is not a ‘spare tyre’ but a person who is as good as the president himself in the event of any eventuality.