👤 By Adenike Lucas
Dino Melaye, the member of representative for Kogi-West Senatorial District has responded to a remark made by the President about the 2018 budget.
On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari finally signed a N9.12 trillion bill into law.
The 75-year-old President, at the budget signing ceremony stated that he did not want to sign the increased appropriation bill that was passed by the National Assembly.
Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief, who plans to run for office again in 2019, said he was hesitant because an increase to the spending plan without any discussion with the Executive.
President Buhari had also insinuated that the budget was delayed because of the lawmakers.
But, DENISAURUS News understands that the heads of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, MDAs refused to attend committee meetings to defend their budget.
And even when the bill was passed in both chambers of the house, the President then took another three weeks before appending his signature to it.
“Notwithstanding the delay this year, I am determined to continue to work with the national assembly towards improving the budgeting process and restoring our country to the January-December fiscal cycle,” President Buhari said at the State House.
Hon Namadas responded saying, “there were delays that should be blamed on the heads of MDAs. Mr President will recall that he had to direct ministers Andy heads of agencies to go to the National Assembly to defend their proposals. This came after the National Assembly had persistently raised the alarm over the non-cooperative attitudes of these government officials. On this grounds, the delay in passing the budget cannot been blamed on the legislature.”
Senator Melaye, in his own response asked that “Mr. President should refrain from playing to the gallery and milking the naivety of the masses on the issue.”
“In any event, he reserves the prerogative of refusing to append his signature to the bill passed if it meets with his displeasure. He is also free to return the bill to the national assembly unsigned with a note indicating his areas of disaffection.
“I also ask, in the last three years of this administration: What has been the percentage of implementation of capital budget? Therefore Mr. President should halt his chicanery and smear campaign of the national assembly.”
The lawmaker highlighted the constitutionally authorised role of the president where it comes to presenting “the National Assembly with a Bill.”
He explained that “a Bill is a work-in-progress and not the finished work.”
“The reason the constitution directs the bill to be submitted to the national assembly is that it expects the national assembly to vet it and make inputs before passing it in readiness for appropriation act.”
He adds: “The national assembly is not expected to rubber stamp whatever Bill the president presents. If this was the norm, there would have been no need for the constitution to direct that the bill should be submitted to the national assembly in the first place.
“The powers and authority of the national assembly cannot be eroded by the presidency. The National Assembly is not a department of the presidency.”