Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The House of Representatives witnessed a division in the green chambers of the National Assembly on Thursday as some lawmaker opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan’s presentation of the 2014 Appropriation Bill before a joint session of the National Assembly scheduled for next Tuesday.
Hon. Leo Ogor, deputy House leader, had moved a motion to admit the President and his entourage in a joint sitting with the Senate on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 to present the 2014 Budget proposal.
But some of the lawmakers suggested that the presentation of the 2014 Budget proposal should be postponed until there is a remarkable improvement in the 2013 Budget implementation, which they argued has not been impressive.
Hon. Ali Madaki had raised a point of order, coming under matters of personal explanation on the poor implementation of the 2013 Budget where he argued that the House should not receive the 2014 proposal until an appreciable state of implementation is attained.
He particularly noted that the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which was earlier submitted by the President to the House has not been considered and approved.
Madaki, whose point of order was seconded byMohammed Ibrahim Idris, insisted that the lawmakers should shift the presentation of the budget until further notice.
“We must not turn the budget into an annual ritual where the president comes and we make a ceremony and then the budget is never implemented. Let’s shift this budget presentation until we are convinced that this year’s budget is implemented at least 80 percent. We are not asking for 100 percent,” said.
Support came from Hon. Ben Nwankwo, who areminded the House that his motion seeking to review implementation of the 2013 Budget two days earlier was stood down, pending the outcome of the House’s completion of oversight on the extent of implementation therefore, the budget presentation should also be put off.
Also lending his voice in support of Madaki’s point of order, Hon. Friday Itulah also explained that since Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that the President could lay the budget anytime within the financial year, the presentation be suspended.
Hon. Raphael Nnanna, however, kicked against the motion, saying that the presentation should not be stopped.
Also speaking for the presentation to go on as scheduled was Hon. Warman Ogoriba, who submitted that there was no law barring the President from laying the budget.
When the matter was put to vote, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, speaker, ruled in favour of the ayes, a decision, which was challenged by Hon. Ben Nwankwo, who called for division of the House into two.
It, however, took the intervention of the deputy leader and some other lawmakers before Nwankwo withdrew his point of order.