…Says no disagreement can alter dynamic relationship between presidency, NASS
…Orders Amendment Budget Proposal be prepared, submitted to parliament
Abimbola Abatta and Uthman Salami
President Muhammadu Buhari, in reaction to the N37billion budget padding, has declared that contrary to insinuations making the rounds, there is no animosity between the National Assembly and him.
He also pledged not to truncate and tamper with the dynamic relationship between the presidency and the National Assembly.
According to him, the presidency and “the parliament under Lawal and Gbajabiamila are committed to a good neighbourly relationship and this or any other disagreement between the two arms of government will not alter the dynamics of that relationship.”
This is even as the President directed that an Amendment Budget Proposal should be prepared and submitted to the Parliament once they return from their recess.
President Buhari disclosed the above on Sunday while debunking the claim that the presidency is “angry” at the Parliament.
Recall that Nigerian NewsDirect had last Friday reported how Buhari faulted the National Assembly over the alterations made to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal.
It was learnt that the National Assembly had reduced provisions made for 10,733 projects while 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget.
Quering the development, Buhari said some of the “worrisome” changes made by NASS bordered on increase in projected FGN independent revenue by N400 billion; reduction in the provision for sinking fund to retire maturing bonds by N22 billion; reduction of the provisions for the non-regular allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively.
However, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu said, “Presidency wishes to clear the air regarding the widely-viewed/reported episode on Friday, December 31st at the State House during the signing of the 2022 Budget and Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari; specifically on the insertion in the 2022 Appropriation Act, of 6,576 new schemes worth about N37 billion by the National Assembly.”
It read further, “While it is true that the President expressed disagreement with these and many of the other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’, innumerable lies are being spread about the President being “angry” at, had ‘blasted’ or ‘lashed out’ at the Parliament. This cannot be farther from the truth.
“As the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan said shortly after the budget-signing ceremony, disagreements as the ones listed by the President are normal in the everyday Executive-Parliamentary relationship because, as he explained, ‘executive and legislative judgements don’t always have to be the same.’
“While we note that there are people who are trying to create a fiasco between the two arms of government on account of the budget, we assure that they will, in the end, be disappointed.
“The Executive and the 9th National Assembly have since moved away from the wild, destructive political games of the past, conducting themselves in a way that puts national interest supreme in their decisions.
“We doubt if there is a patriotic citizen who wants to see the return of the operating environment engendered by the 8th Senate when an elected government was held in chains, held hostage to the desperate political ambitions of a clique, and the public denied needed services including that which impinged on national security.
“Happily, the 9th National Assembly is more about policy than politics.
“Under the constitution, both arms of government are coequal and at the same time, independent and interdependent. The rule of the game is cooperation and the President, as a democrat fully accepts this.”
On the rationale for assenting to the 2022 Appropriation Act, the press statement revealed: “Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation.
“However, to respond to critics that question why assent to the Budget if it was so severely tampered with, we wish to respond as follows:
“(1) Need to Save Value-Additive Projects, Programs & Policies:
“Although over 10,733 projects were reduced and 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly, there are tens of thousands more provisions in the 2022 Budget, all of which, when efficiently and effectively implemented, will have significant developmental impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians.
“Given Mr. President’s commitment to improving the lot of the Common Man, it was felt that it would not be wise to throw away the baby with the bathwater. Ongoing Capital Projects, Critical Recurrent Votes, Priority New Projects – all feature in the 2022 Budget and Mr. President’s forbearance in assenting to the Budget will save these provisions from implementation delays and other challenges.
“(2) Dealing with Modern Democratic Norms:
“President Buhari is a democrat who deeply believes in the supremacy of the Constitution, with its checks and balances across the three arms of Government.
“In terms of the passage of legislations like the Appropriation Act and other Money Bills, the National Assembly has equal responsibilities with the Executive.
“Indeed, if Mr. President had declined assent to the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the National Assembly has powers to override the President’s veto if they can drum up a 2/3 majority vote. This is the constitution.
“Happily, this situation has not arisen during the tenure of Mr. President’s Administration, and the Executive’s relationship with the Leadership of the 9th National Assembly is much improved over what happened with the 8th National Assembly.
“It is on account of his confidence in the strength of this excellent working relationship that Mr. President has directed that an Amendment Budget Proposal should be prepared and submitted to the National Assembly, once they return from their recess.
“It is hoped that the National Assembly will carefully consider and approve the 2022 Amendment Budget Proposals, once presented to them in due course, for the benefit of all Nigerians.
“It is important therefore that, in place of ‘anger’ or confrontation, President Buhari showed the democracy-loving side of his personality as he signed the budget at the same time calling for dialogue with the parliament to resolve the contentious issues.”
NewsDirect at 13: Our commitment to press freedom, accurate news relentless — ED
The Executive Director and Manager for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for Nigerian NewsDirect, Mr Mathew Ibiyemi has reiterated the commitment of the media house to advocating for increased press freedom and promotion of accurate news.
In a press statement issued on behalf of the company on the occasion of its 13th Anniversary, Mr Mathew acknowledged that the newspaper industry in Nigeria and globally is going through very challenging times.
He noted that the challenges may be enormous but they are not insurmountable.
The NewsDirect ED explained that the challenges will not make the company compromise on the truth but will instead further its resolve to continuously provide accurate and insightful news from source.
Mr Mathew also seized the occasion to thank readers and partners of the brand who have ceaselessly contributed to the newspaper’s continuous publication on news-stand.
Nigerian NewsDirect is slated to host an anniversary dinner in Lagos today to celebrate the milestone age and also interact with its partners.
Tinubu seeks N’Assembly approval for fresh $8.7bn, 100m loans
…To defend 2024 budget, borrowing plan at joint plenary session
Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has again sought the approval of the National Assembly for fresh loans to the tune of $8.7billion and €100 million.
In a letter to the House of Representatives, the President said the loans were intended to fund projects which cut across sectors, particularly infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management. among others.
The letter read, “I write with reference to above subject matter and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing rolling plan for consideration and approval of the National Assembly to ensure optimum implementation of the budget.
“The Honourable members may wish to know that the past administration approved the 2022-2024 borrowing plan at the Federal Executive Council held on 15 May, 2023.
“Following the removal of the fuel subsidy and its attendant impact on our economy, African Development Bank and the World bank group have indicated interest in assisting the country to mitigate the impact with the sum of one billion USD and 1.5 billion USD respectively; in addition to the FEC approved 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of 8,699,168,559 USD, and 100 million Euros.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluation as well as the expected contribution to the socio-economic development of the country including employment generation, skills acquisition, support towards the emergence of young entrepreneurs, poverty reduction and food security to improve the livelihood in all 36 states and the FCT.
“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit in the country and the enormous financial resources required to bridge the gap in funding infrastructure in the face of dwindling financial resources, it has become imperative that we resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will be largely be applied to key infrastructure projects including power, railway, health among others.
“Given the nature of these facilities and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary to request the House of Representatives to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibilities to Nigerians through expedient disbursement and efficient project implementation.
“I hereby forward the proposed 2022-2024 external borrowing plan and trust that it would receive judicious consideration and passage of the House of Representatives,” the letter read.
The President also wrote to the Senate. The letter by the President was read by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at the plenary on Tuesday.
The letter read, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council held on May 15, 2023.
“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.”
It added, “Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the senate to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
The President is expected to defend the borrowing plan and the 2024 budget in a joint plenary session today which the National Assembly granted.
Rivers Guber poll: Fubara emerges victorious at Appeal court
Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara has emerged victorious in an appeal challenging his electoral victory in the 2023 General elections.
Fubara’s victory was further ascertained by a judgement of the Appeal court sitting in Lagos yesterday.
The Court, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the judgment of the election tribunal, dismissing four separate appeals filed by Tonye Cole of All Progressives Congress (APC), Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party (LP), Innocent Ekwu of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and Lulu Briggs Dumo of the Accord Party.
The court held that all the appellants failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Recall that the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had in October dismissed the petition of the APC Candidate challenging the election of Fubara as the governor of the state.
The APC candidate, who was present in the courtroom on Tuesday urged the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him the winner of the March governorship election in Rivers.
The election tribunal in Rivers state had dismissed the petition saying that the APC that sponsored Cole had withdrawn the petition against Fubara’s victory.
Not satisfied with the Tribunal’s victory, the APC candidate approached the appellate court. However, the court on Tuesday affirmed the Tribunal ruling which earlier upheld Fubara’s electoral victory in October.
Justice Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi (absent), Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe and Justice Bature Isa Gafa, held that the fact that APC ceased to be a party to the case did not make Cole’s petition invalid. The judges concluded that the Tribunal was in error to have struck out that item of the petition.
“A political party cannot compel a candidate to withdraw a petition neither can a candidate compel the party to withdraw,” Justice Adegbehingbe ruled.
However, on the other grounds, the court held that the appellants’ evidence were inadequate in proving the allegations of over-voting, disenfranchisement and other alleged irregularities.
The grounds bordering on fraud and whether Fubara was qualified to have contested the election were struck out based on unconvincing evidence. Cole cited allegations of irregularities and Fubara’s continued signing of documents as the State’s Accountant-General after his PDP nomination.
In his immediate reaction, Cole said the appellate court’s judgment has given him and his legal team a greenlight, and that will determine their next line of action.
News6 years ago
NLC, NUT shock El-Rufai with massive protest
Politics4 years ago
Implementation of N30,000 minimum wage depends on each State’s capacity -Governor’s Forum
Energy6 years ago
Cost reflective tariff, our challenge – Ikeja Electric
News8 years ago
Wema Bank awarded two ISO Certifications
News8 years ago
10 dead, 4 rescued as shipping mall collapse in Ogun
News6 years ago
2019: OBJ lobbies Tinubu, Kwankwaso, Duke in new party
News7 years ago
Relocation to Ghana: Nigeria to lose $12bn foreign airlines investments
News7 years ago
Ekweremadu visits Fani Kayode, Abati, others in EFCC cell