By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— STRONG indications emerged, yesterday, that there may be constitutional crisis over the 2017 budget, if the National Assembly failed to pass it this week.
Vanguard findings revealed that the 2017 budget process, which had already stretched thin the constitutionally allowed window, may run the government into a shutdown this month.
The 2016 budget, which has its life (especially the capital expenditure) extended to May 5, 2017, will expire this week, thus placing a huge encumbrance on government spending.
t has never experienced a shut down since the beginning of the Fourth Republic as it had always come out of budget crisis before the constitutionally approved period.
Investigations revealed that though the law permits the government to spend revenue up to six months, there is no guarantee that the President can assent the new budget in the next one month.
A lawmaker said: “Even if the budget is passed this week, there is no guarantee that the executive will not pick issues with the document as it has always happened and then the issues would drag for upward of two months.”
Efforts at reaching the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, were unsuccessful, yesterday, as calls to his numbers were not picked.
Senate spokesman, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, could not also be reached through his telephone numbers.
But another senator who spoke in confidence, clarified that it was actually possible the budget was passed this week, even as he noted that the President usually had 30 days to assent to bills or veto them.
“If that happens, the whole constitutionally allowed window of six months would have been exhausted,’’ the senator said.