The leadership of the House of Representatives has put checks in place, to forestall incidences of padding in the 2018 budget, Chairman House Committee on Media, Abdulrazak Namdas has said.
The House Spokesman, while having a chat with The Nation on Wednesday said the measure put in place by the Green Chamber is to ensure that the type of controversies witnessed in the past does not recur.
He said: “You should know that the leadership of the House has put checks in place, like the rule that, no Standing Committee chairman can submit his report to the Appropriation Committee without the signatures of two-thirds of the members of the committee.
“We have passed the stage of the budget controversy, allegations of padding and stories of the budget getting missing. Some of these were symptoms of the 2016 budget season, we didn’t have such problems with the 2017 budget. ”
Namdas also hinted that the budget may not get to the President at the time he envisaged, adding that the National Assembly must consider the fine points of the bill and make the necessary adjustment that reflects the realities of the constituencies and the nation in general.
According to him, the Green Chamber cannot return the document as it was presented.
His words: “When the president presented his speech on the budget presentation day, he expressed the wish that the budget is approved by January 1st.
“We are saying that we will work faster since the 2018 Appropriation Bill was brought a little bit earlier, we should also be able to approve the budget a little earlier.
“But I cannot be specific about a date since we are few weeks to the end of December. This is about twenty sitting days, so if I sit here in the comfort of my office to assure Nigerians that the budget will be passed by 1st of January, you and even them will know it’s not feasible.
“For the budget process, you should be looking at a minimum of three months. We will deliberate on the basic principles of the budget, it will be committed to committees to work on it, meet with MDA and they now send their report to the Appropriation Committee. All of these processes take time.“I think people should be more concerned about the National Assembly and the executive coming up with an implementable budget, rather than focusing on a January date.”