REPS NEWS: House of Reps to pass 2014 Budget today
LEGISREPORTS NG – The Nigerian House Representatives said they will begin consideration of the 2014 Appropriation Bill, when the House resumed plenary tomorrow, following a closed-door meeting that lasted for over two hours on the Budget.
The House today sat almost two hours behind schedule to straighten out contentious issues around the 2014 Appropriation Bill, preparatory to its passage.
Source at the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity said the “House has resolved its differences and the budget will be passed tomorrow”.
The N4.642trillion money bill which was brought to the House last year December, has a 70 percent overhead-recurrent (salaries and other items) component, with a paltry 30 percent for Capital (infrastructure)
A member of the APC in the House, Rep Emmanuel Jime, (APC Benue), had earlier in a motion Under Matters of Urgent National Importance, urged the House to reject the Budget as proposed until the parliament was served with details of Ministries’ and Agencies’ proposals in line with section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The Motion was adopted.
A Federal High Court later strengthen the position of the House by ordering the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to comply with the House’ resolution by providing details of the Budget.
Though the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Rep John Enoh (PDP-Cross River) had earlier told the House that details of the budget were received, the controversy raged on.
Budgets, since 2003, have been controversial for partisan reasons and reasons around who has the power of the purse.
Though section 80 of the 1999 Constitution gives the National Assembly powers over the Budget, section 315 which is yet to be amended, donates same powers nominally to the President to amend laws passed by National Assembly, including the budget.
This report was prepared by our House of Reps reporter in Abuja.