1. There is nothing like a “budget”.
2 It is actually a “Budget Bill” that is presented by the Executive to the Legislature for consideration to be passed by both Houses.
3. The National Assembly (NASS) debates and passes ALL Bills, including Budget Bills, There is no waiver for Bills because they are tagged “budget”. The NASS sends back to the Executive the passed Budget Bill, when the President signs that Bill , it then becomes a Budget Appropriation Act…The Executive CANNOT pass a Budget into law.
4. The NASS has huge powers… they can actually override a Presidential veto. If the President refused to sign any Legislature Bill, the NASS, after constitutional conditions are met, can pass that Bill into law with a majority of the NASS voting yea, The Executive does not have such powers to spend.
5. Thus if Budgets are Bills….then the Budget Appropriation can be amended, debated and projects added or removed by the NASS, just as the NASS can debate, amend, add or remove sections of the Child Rights Bill… it’s their constitutional duty.
6. That said, There is a place for political party cohesion especially as regards the budget. …It boggles the mind that the ruling party made up of Executive and Legislative continually haggle annually over budgets that should represent their party platforms.
7. A Budget should stem from an economic plan…specifically a long term economic plan. An economic plan can have a timeline of 10 years with clear developmental milestones and targets. The budget simply takes projects from that economic plan and funds then in 12 month timelines.
8..The process should be the APC passing such law such an economic development plan that spans say a decades…then basing a shorter 3-year Medium Term Expenditure plans from that 10-year plan…which then distill to annual budgets.
9. If an Annual budget is presented based on a long term economic plan already passed into law….it will then be illegal for the Executive or legislative to insert or remove projects from that annual plan expressed as a budget. No Legislators can then insert “boreholes” into an annual budget.
10..I appreciate the point made by the Minister of Works, Power and Housing on the “tampering” of his budget …but he is wrong, the NASS does have and hold the powers to amend the Budget Bill. His comments and follow up however should be channelled internal and back to his own party to effect a change in his budget via an amendment to his budget.
11. This also calls into question the current budget process. Clearly this is no longer a “zero based” budget. How does the Executive sign off on NASS passed budgets without an “all clear” from the Heads of Ministries?
12. Keep in mind the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing has the largest Capital Allocation in the 2017 budget, if that budget is called into question…..then can we really say we have a developmental budget?
13. We can do much better…
It’s our problem…we can fix it–