By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has warned that any of the government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, that disrespects the resolutions of the National Assembly stood the risk of having zero budget allocation.
He also stated that oversight functions of the parliament should not be perceived as being adversarial but a mechanism to ensure an improved service to the people.
Dogara gave the warning in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at a two-day summit on Intergovernmental/Party Relations and the Budget Reform Process for sustainable development in Nigeria, yesterday
He called for more synergy among the executive, the legislature and the judiciary in their collective struggle to develop Nigeria and ensure better life for citizens.
He said: “Over the years, legislative oversight has been seen as more adversarial than cooperative.
”However, in conducting oversight, the principles of co-operative government and intergovernmental relations must be taken into consideration, including the separation of powers and the need for all spheres of government and all organs of state to exercise their powers and perform their functions in a manner that does not encroach on the functions of other arms.
”Seen in this light, the oversight function of the Legislature complements, rather than hampers, the effective delivery of services with which the executive is entrusted.
“Each arm of government must take concrete steps to realize cooperative government by fostering friendly relations, assisting and supporting one another, informing one another of, and consulting one another on matters of common interest, coordinating their actions and legislation with one another; and adhering to agreed procedures.
“The various ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, are constitutionally required to account to the legislature, and they should always avail parliament of the complete picture on performance of the functions assigned to them as the consideration of the annual report of the MDAs alone may not give the complete picture of the performance of the relevant functions.“”On the issue of legislative resolutions, one of the tools available to parliament in enforcing its resolutions is the power of the purse as provided for by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Any MDA that persistently disrespects a well-informed resolution of Parliament may confront the power of parliament over its budget. Over the years, legislative resolutions have been taken as merely advisory and hence enjoy a low level of compliance by the executive branch.”
”I wish to strongly make the point that whereas some resolutions of the legislature are expressions of the will and views of the legislature, they most often do have practical, political and legal consequences.
“In the House of Representatives, we have shown our commitment to ensuring that the procedure and process of consideration and passage of the 2017 Budget was transparent, inclusive and professional.
”The details of the budget was debated and passed in plenary to avoid unnecessary drawbacks that normally characterise the budget process, in Nigeria. That is why I personally sponsored a Budget Process Bill, to set out mandatory time-lines for all stakeholders in the budgetary process.”“He also called for the inclusion of the ruling party in the budget preparation process in order for it to align with its agenda.