By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo
LAGOS—THE possible early presentation and passage of the 2019 Appropriation Bill for Lagos State, Monday, suffered another setback as the state House of Assembly failed to form the statutory quorum for proceeding on matters upon its resumption from recess.
This was as the state government said it was waiting for a formal notification from the Assembly on when to present the budget.
The House, however, adjourned further proceedings till Thursday, January 10, 2019.
The Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, who presided over the session on behalf of the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, with only eight members in attendance, said the adjournment became necessary to allow other members, who were absent due to exigencies of duties, to return.
Members, who resumed legislative duties Monday, after a long recess were expected to deliberate on the controversy trailing the current delay in the presentation of the proposed Appropriation Bill by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The House, which sat at about 12 noon, summarily, adjourned sitting after a motion for adjournment by Agunbiade was moved and seconded by Segun Olulade.
It was, however, gathered that most lawmakers had to attend important political events prelude to Monday’s flag-off of political campaign to canvass support for All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and Governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his running mate, Dr Obafemi Hamzat and all other APC candidates in the 2019 general elections.
Reports had it that the State House of Assembly was yet to receive any letter of intention from the Governor on a day the budget will be presented.
We’re still waiting for Assembly—LASG
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government said it is waiting to receive a formal notification from the lawmakers on when to present the 2019 Appropriation Bill before the Assembly.
A close aide to the governor told Vanguard that Ambode was still waiting for the lawmakers to invite him to present the budget before them as stipulated by the 1999 constitution.
The budget size for the year forwarded to the House was N852.317 billion, which was N193.683 billion less to the 2018 budget size of N1.04 trillion.
Another source told Vanguard that “the tradition before now was that he informs the lawmakers verbally on when best to present it. They give him a date which would later be included in the letter the governor sends to the House.”
He noted that on the 2019 budget, the Governor had done same and “contacted the House twice but the lawmakers couldn’t form any quorum. And that is what happened today again. You can see that it is not the fault of the governor. I know surely that whenever they are ready, Ambode is ready.”
Group calls for immediate passage of 2019 budget
Meanwhile, the Lagos Liberation Movement, LLM, has called on the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Obasa to reconvene and address the issue of 2019 Appropriation Bill.
Convener of the group, Comrade Mark Adebayo, in a statement, said: “The LLM is worried that further delay in the presentation and passage of the 2019 Budget, may be counterproductive and lead to a shutdown of governance and economic activities in the state.