National Assembly seeks law to implement 2016 budget till May next year

President Muhammadu Buhari addresing the Joint Section of National Assembly after presenting 2016 Budget.

President Muhammadu Buhari addresing the Joint Section of National Assembly after presenting 2016 Budget.

To ensure appreciable implementation of 2016 budget beyond December this year, National Assembly is seeking a review of the constitution to extend the execution of the document till May next year.

In an interview, Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Legor Idagbo said in the meantime, the legislature has by resolution agreed to empower President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the implementation of the budget till May 2017.

According to him, it is only by this that the budget would have been executed in a full financial year.

Based on concerns raised by the president on the 2016 budget after it was passed by the National Assembly on March 23 last year, the Senate and the House finally passed the revised envelope of N6.06 trillion budget on Thursday May 5, 2016. President Buhari assented to it the following day.

“It’s quite disheartening that the 2016 budget has up till now not been implemented up to 50 per cent, even 40 per cent and it is going to affect projects and releases that have not been made till now.

“The financial year should ordinarily end in December, but we are already in October- two months to the end of the year. It’s our hope that since the budget was not passed in December, its implementation should begin from the month that it was passed and end on the month in the following year to grant it 12- calendar month implementation. That was the proposal of the speaker of the House when the matter came up on the floor of the House.

“The constitution empowers National Assembly to extend the financial year, so rather than going to the President every year to extend it, we have agreed that by amendment, let the financial year begins when the budget was passed to the same month of the following year,” he said.

Idagbo, who represents Obanliku/ Obudu/Bekwarra federal constituency of Cross River, however, ruled out possibility of the President forwarding supplementary budget this year to the legislature.

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