Reps in rowdy session over budget implementation as they booed each other

A mild drama played out at the House of Representatives yesterday as some members attempted to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from presenting the 2014 budget proposal next Tuesday.

Jonathan had in a letter to the leadership of the house requested to be allowed to present the 2014 budget proposal on November 12. But confusion ensued soon after Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal called on the deputy House Leader Leo Ogor to move the motion for the suspension of House rules that will allow President Jonathan, a non-lawmaker to address them.
Rep Aliyu Sani Madaki (PDP, Kano) said due to the poor implementation of the 2013 budget, the lawmakers ought to postpone Jonathan’s budget presentation to establish the delay. 
He said oversight visitations by the lawmakers to government agencies have so far revealed below 40 percent budget performance.
Rep Ben Nwankwo (APGA, Anambra) said the House has the constitu-tional powers to ascertain budget performance, saying all they needed to do was to postpone Jonathan’s presentation. Also, Rep Friday Itulah (PDP, Edo) said most lawmakers were not satisfied that with less than seven weeks for the year to run out, budget implementation has been very poor so far.
However, Reps Warman Ogoribo (PDP, Bayelsa) and Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi) argued that no motion or opinion should make the lawmakers stop Jonathan’s presentation on Tuesday, saying some committees’ oversights reports are yet to be completed. This threw the session into a rowdy one as the lawmakers booed each others.
Tambuwal however ruled that the matter could not be debated since it came under personal explanation. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo on Monday told a Senate committee that  all capital fund released had been cash-backed.
‘In line with the priorities set out by President Goodluck Jonathan, the funds will be deployed to expedite the execution of key infrastructure, security and social projects captured in budget 2013. The latest figure means that a total of N850bn has so far been released for capital projects this year. Also, all the funds released have been cash-backed.
‘Implementation of various capital projects across the country is ongoing and currently, utilisation of the released funds for capital projects for this year stands at 71 per cent.’

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