By Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie & Levinus Nwabughiogu
INSTEAD of blaming lawmakers for delaying passage of budgets, thereby delaying execution of projects, some members of the National Assembly have advised President Muhammadu Buhari and the executive arm of government to follow due process and present budget proposals on time.
In chats with Vanguard, many lawmakers from the Senate and House Representatives, picked holes in President Buhari’s comment that the legisla-tors’ delay of the passage of budget was hampering completion of many projects across the country.
Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide(PDP, Edo South), said President Buhari does not understand the procedures for passage of budget.
Urging the President not to trust or believe all that his subordinates in the executive arm tell him, Urhogide said: “A situation where budget proposal comes before MTEF and FSP is putting the cart before the horse. This was what happened in the 2018 budget.”
Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, and Chairman, South-East Senate Caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) also disagreed with the President.
While Bwacha simply said “that is not a true reflection of the situation,” Abaribe said there is “nothing new in President Buhari’s accusation. He always blames someone else for his actions.”
However, Senator Omo- Agege(APC, Delta Central), concurred with Buhari’s comments, saying: “The motivation is clear: Frustrate Mr President’s budget to deprive him of additional infrastructure development projects to campaign with.
Some members of the House of Representatives also picked holes in Buhari’s allegation, which they described as uncalled for, adding that if the president’s appointees meet up with deadlines there won’t be any delay in budget passage.
‘NASS not rubber stamp’
Deputy Chairman House of Representatives Committee on FCT, Sergius Ogun, said: “What effort did the President and his appointees put to ensure that the MDAs come to defend their submissions?
“When you submit a new budget, you are required to come before the parliament to defend how the funds released for the previous budget were utilised and to justify the new request.”
To Kingsley Chinda, Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts, the President appears to lack a proper understanding of how the budget processes work.
Also, Darlington Nwokocha, who represents Isiala Ngwa North/Isiala Ngwa South Federal constituency of Abia State, said:“The executive has started the blame games to save face.
“It is unfortunate that the executive always fails to present the budget early enough and when they bring it they expect a waiver of the statutory processes, which is wrong and unhealthy to a nation.”