Wpid Nass
Reps Commence Debate On 2014 Budget Tuesday


Teddy Oscar, Abuja

The House of Representatives has said that it would commence consideration of the 2014 Appropriation Bill next Tuesday.

Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, who dropped the hint at a media briefing on Thursday, said that the lawmakers could not get the copies of the bill until Thursday, January 23, 2014.

He added that the lawmakers would use the weekend to study the document.

He said that the House is desirous of giving the Nigerian people a workable and implementable budget, and would be thorough in its consideration.

?Members have gotten copies of the proposed budget, and they will use this weekend to study the document. We hope that it will go through second reading and be committed to the committee by Tuesday next week.

?We will look at it deeply so that at the end of the day, we will get a working budget. We will ask questions where necessary,? he stated.

The House spokesman also carpeted insinuations that the National Assembly was responsible for the delay in the presentation of the 2014 Appropriation Bill.

He, however, blamed it on the failure of the executive to submit the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in June as required by law.

But he promised that the House would expedite action on the 2014 Budget to enable government deliver quality services to the people.

On the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Mohammed explained that the proposed law was a critical one, which would need to be scrupulously looked at.

He assured that despite that, the House would pass the bill before the end of the year.

?The PIB is all encompassing, and it is very critical to the transformation of the nation?s oil sector. So, we have to do a clinical job. We have to take care of all the diverse interests and opinions. But I can assure you that definitely before the end of the year, we will pass this bill,? he said.

Reacting to the comments credited to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the effect that Nigeria?s economy may be threatened because of the 2015 general elections, Mohammed said that the parliament is making efforts to forestall anything that would have adverse effects on the economy.

Recall that Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, speaker of the House, had in his welcome address last Tuesday, charged the lawmakers to assiduously work to pass the 2014 Appropriation Bill expeditiously.

?Recall also, honourable colleagues, that just before we proceeded on recess, the 2014 Appropriation Bill was submitted by Mr. President. We have continued to express our concern over late budget presentation which often leads to late passage of the budget,? Tambuwal said.

The speaker also lamented poor budget implementation.

?Poor budget implementation by the executive over the years has continued to test the patience and tolerance of Nigerians of office holders commitment to their welfare. It is important to note that early commencement of budget implementation is of the essence in ensuring full, efficient and effective program execution.

?Accordingly, therefore, while ensuring all due diligence and scrutiny for the realisation of a pro people budget; we must work assiduously to pass the 2014 Appropriation Bill expeditiously. I am sure that Nigerians can count on our capacity to deliver in this regard. ?Also critical in the consideration of the 2014 Budget is the funding of the judicial arm. There have been series of appeals from the chief justice of Nigeria and former chief justices under the auspices of the body of benchers on the need for enhanced funding of the judiciary,? he said.

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