Late submission of 2013 budget blamed on politics, bureaucracy

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By OKEY NDIRIBE

ABUJA—There are strong indications that submission of the 2013 budget passed by the National Assembly last December has been delayed due to bureaucratic and political reasons.

It was gathered that the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Abubakar Maikasua, whose responsibility is to submit bills passed by the legislature to the Presidency for the President’s assent has not yet handed over the document for reasons that are not yet clear.

However, a source at the National Assembly has revealed that the delay may be attributted to the Yuletide holidays which affected tempo of work in the National Assembly.

Another source told Vanguard that submission of the document has been delayed as a result of the conciliatory efforts of Senate President, Senator David Mark to settle rift between the House and the Presidency over a clause in the budget concerning the fate of the Securities Exchange Commission, SEC.

The House had refused to allocate funds for the running of SEC in 2013 and also introduced a clause in the fiscal document barring SEC from spending any fund accruing to it until it is appropriated by the National Assembly.

It would be recalled that the House had earlier in the year adopted a resolution demanding for the sack of the SEC

Director General, Ms Arunma Oteh on the ground that she lacked the requisite qualification to head the commission. The House’s resolution has so far been ignored by the Presidency.

Reacting to insinuations in some quarters that the House embarked on vendetta against the SEC

DG while speaking to newsmen about the development recently, the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Victor Ogene said it was laughable for anybody to suggest that the Green Chamber was waging war against the SEC DG as a result of allegations of bribery she earlier levelled against Herman Hembe, Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market.

Hon. Ogene pointed out that the House had already initiated investigations into the activities of SEC

before Oteh made her allegations against Hembe.

He asked:”Which one came first??”

He asked: “ This same House was already having a public hearing on SEC when Oteh made her allegations. That an issue arose midway during an investigation shouldn’t abort a process that was already on-going. During this process, issues had been raised regarding Oteh’s competence; regarding some resources of SEC that were paid into private accounts; issues bordering on corporate governance whereby staffers were recruited from outside the system and issues regarding indecorous working relationship with key commissioners in SEC.

These issues were already on the front burner of the Committee’s discourse before Oteh made her allegations which up till now still remain mere allegations because the case is still in court. So, until Oteh proves her allegations, they remain mere allegations. The above issues had been established long before Oteh made her allegations.”

“It is only when somebody is drowning that he or she could clutch at anything he or she sees in order to survive,” he said.

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