* seeks presidential assent to budget reform bill
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara yesterday observed that Nigerians are fast loosing confidence the country’s security system.
Dogara also said that History would be harsh on the current administration, should government fail to stop the incessant killings and other security challenges facing the country.
The Speaker, during his welcome address to his colleagues as they resume for the 4th session of the 8th Assembly, noted that unresolved issue of rampant killing of defenseless people, including innocent and vulnerable children and women, in various parts of the country, calls for a sober reflection.
He promised that they National Assembly will ensure concerted efforts to exploit all constitutional powers and privileges to guarantee the protection of lives and property in the entire country by our security agencies.
Dogara also noted that security agencies have failed short of expectation.
“It is obvious that with the unrestrained killings being witnessed in the country, our security agencies have fallen short of the demands of their offices and the expectations of the nation. We must urgently work with the Executive Arm to facilitate the re-engineering of our security architecture to serve our collective interests and aspirations.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the most fundamental and basic responsibility of any government is the security of lives and property. History will have a harsh verdict for us as a Government if we fail to live up to this responsibility and it won’t matter if we succeed in other areas. Unfortunately, the stark reality now is that our citizens are fast losing confidence in our security system. This must not be the case. Before we ebb to the realm of anarchy, we must rise up as true representatives of the Nigerian people to salvage the situation and defend our hard-won democracy,” he said.
The Speaker argued that whatever achievement that is being recorded by the government will not be remembered if the orgy violence and mass killings of innocent Nigerians continue unabated.
“History will have a harsh verdict for us as a Government if we fail to live up to this responsibility and it won’t matter if we succeed in other areas. Unfortunately, the stark reality now is that our citizens are fast losing confidence in our security system,” he said.
“The stark reality now is that our citizens are fast losing confidence in our security system. This must not be the case. Before we ebb to the realm of anarchy, we must rise up as true representatives of the Nigerian people to salvage the situation and defend our hard-won democracy.”
Meanwhile, Dogara has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the constitutional amendment Bill which provides for early submission of budget proposals to the National Assembly by the President.
This according to him would allow orderly appropriation process.
The Bill stipulates that the President shall prepare and lay before each House of the National Assembly estimates of revenue and expenditure 90 days before the end of the fiscal year, and was transmitted to the President along with other constitutional amendment Bills some of which have been assented to by the President.
Dogara said issues raised about the budget reforms and budgeting process would be addressed, once the bill is signed into law.
“It is as a result of this that the National Assembly proposed an amendment to the section to require the President to submit the Appropriation Bill not later than 90 days to the end of the financial year. The President has not yet signed this Bill which is so critical to an orderly Appropriations process. Let me use this opportunity to remind Mr President of the fact that if this Bill does not become law, any talk of an orderly appropriations process would be mere cheap talk.
According to the Speaker, “It is important to reiterate once again, that the National Assembly has the Constitutional powers, duty and responsibility to intervene in the budgeting process to ensure equity, federal character and even distribution of projects and amenities to all nooks and crannies of this great country as direct Representatives of the people.
“It is also important to emphasise that the 2018 budget benefitted from active cooperation and consultation between the Executive and Legislature during the Appropriation process. No doubt, Nigeria’s budgeting processes is in need of further reforms and that is why the National Assembly took the bold initiative to introduce the Budget Process Bill that is expected to lay out, timeliness that will guide the appropriation process from conception to passage.
“But for this Bill to be passed, section (81) subsection (1) which gives the President power to prepare and lay before each House of the National Assembly AT ANY TIME estimates of revenue and expenditure in the financial year must be amended.”
Dogara however charged various committees of the House, to process all pending legislative measures before them and ensure expeditious consideration as they enter the twilight of their legislative mandate.
“We already have a record number of Bills, Resolutions and Public Petitions passed more than any other Assembly before us and we can do even more in the remaining period of our tenure,” he said.