National Assembly wrong to alter budget - Femi Falana

National Assembly wrong to alter budget - Femi Falana

- A recent action by lawmakers in the National Assembly has attracted criticisms from various groups and experts

- The lawmakers were said to have altered some of the budgetary provisions of the 2017 budget

- This did not go down well with public commentators, groups and analysts

Popular human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has faulted the National Assembly for inserting new projects into the 2017 Budget.

In an interview with Channels TV recently, Falana said the executive should get the Supreme Court to settle the matter once and for all.

National Assembly wrong to alter budget - Femi Falana

Falana had approached a Federal High Court in the past to address the recurring issue

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His words: “We have been on this game since 1999. This is about the fourth president. Every year, we have this controversy. It is totally uncalled for over the power of the National Assembly to tinker with the budget.

“We have advised the government to put this matter to rest by approaching the Supreme Court. The precious time of the nation has been wasted over who has the right to the project.

“In 2014, I went to court, the court agreed that it is the duty of the president to prepare the budget, while the National Assembly, even though not a rubber stamp, shall inform input into the budget. But that does not mean, according to the judgment, that it can be substituted with another by the National Assembly.

“The constitution says the ‘President shall cause to be prepared’. What does preparation mean? It means the ministry of budget, the ministry of finance and all the relevant agencies of government will prepare the budget and collate the figure…the presidency would have done some feasibility studies.

If that is presented to the National Assembly, it has the right to say ‘a similar secretariat was built in Ghana at a lower cost’. But you cannot say it will cost N205b without any bill of quantity…You cannot single-handedly introduce new projects. Who is going to fund it?”

National Assembly wrong to alter budget - Femi Falana

The National Assembly have been criticized by many groups and individuals for altering the budget

Meanwhile, recent media reports suggests that prominent groups and economic experts are not happy with members of the National Assembly for reducing the budgetary allocations for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.

According to the report, the lawmakers reduced the budget for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway from N31bn to N10bn, while the vote for the Second Niger Bridge was cut from N15bn to N10bn.

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