“We may not have any budget in view if Buhari tampers with any line of 2016 Budget” – Owie
Former Senate Whip, Senator Rowland Owie yesterday gave a critical remark at President Muhammadu Buhari for saying that he will not sign the 2016 Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly into law, warning that failure to sanction to the bill would amount to starting a new budget presentation exercise.
According to Senator Owie, President Buhari has no right to tamper with the approved budget as submitted by the National Assembly, stressing that refusal to sign or omit any line from the already approved budget, would amount to taking the country through another five months of processing a fresh presentation, first reading, second reading, committee stage, among others so it will be in the best interest of the country if Mr. President approves it.
Speaking with Vanguard yesterday, Senator Owie who requested that the President adhere to the counsel of the Minister of Budget and Planning and a former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters( Senate), Senator Ita Enang who are experienced in legislative matters.
Senator Owie solicited with President Buhari to sign and work with the approved budget, emphasizing that both the National and State Assemblies are allowed to reintroduce new bills, increase or decrease amounts to zero level by law into the appropriation bill thereafter he can proceed amendment on un-clarified areas.
Adding he said, “I want to advise Mr. President to go ahead and assent to the budget after that whatever he feels he wants to do, he can, then send it back to the National Assembly while he is scrutinizing, if and if he does not do that and he goes ahead to change a line of the budget, it will take another five months as the house will start afresh from first reading to second reading to committee level.”
If the president changes anything, he has to return the budget again to NASS, it will start again from first reading to second reading to committee stage. “If he tampers with it, he has to return it to NASS and start from zero point meaning that this year, we may not have a budget and in view of the above, I ask the President to assent to the budget and start implementing those areas he has no problem with, the begin to look at others and if he does not do this, he will run Nigeria into crisis.
Mr. President should note that he can never get a budget the way it was sent to NASS or state Assembly, NASS has the right to re- introduce new items into the budget, right to reduce the amount, or decrease or remove it totally, it is the function of the National Assembly, no one can do that.
“My worry is that Mr. President is not listening to advise from the Minister of Budget and National Planning and a former Senate Chief Whip, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and his Special Assistant, Senator Ita Enang who is also very knowledgeable on National Assembly matters or is it that he may not be taking their inputs.”