National Assembly steps down Buhari’s $496m arms fund

by | May 4, 2018 11:32 am

Indications emerged at the end of Thursday plenary session that President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to include the sum of $496 million into the 2018 budget had been dropped by the National Assembly.
Last week, the House of Representatives resolved to step down the consideration of President Buhari’s letter following agitation over the procedure adopted in the presentation of the request.
Most of the lawmakers who spoke on the procedure adopted argued that it should be presented in form of a bill rather than a motion.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara however declined to entertain debate on the alleged breach of the provision of the Constitution on the anticipatory approval granted by Buhari without appropriation by the National Assembly.
The motion on the $496 million was subsequently referred to the House Committee on Rules and Business to verify whether or not there was precedence for such anticipatory approval in other climes.
Buhari in the letter also notified the House and Senate that the balance of the $1 billion to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account would be sent through supplementary budget.
Meanwhile, the leadership of National Assembly assured Nigerians of its resolve to pass the 2018 budget next week, in confirmation of BusinessDay report.
According to the information obtained after Thursday legislative session, the budget will be laid on Tuesday, May 8, and passed within the same week.
Abdulrasak Namdas, chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, gave the assurance during the post legislative activities press briefing in Abuja.
He said: “By the Grace of God, we will lay the budget on Tuesday and then try to pass it that same week. But where laying it on Tuesday and I can assure you that within that same week, we’re going to pass it.
“We tried to do that, but you know, the budget is a voluminous document. Actually, we’ve been working hard so that we can beat the deadline, and hopefully this time around, I can assure you that by next week, everything about the budget will be concluded and passed.”
Namdas, while responding to a question on the proposed three-day suspension of legislative activities to protest the killings across the country, said it would take effect after the passage of the Appropriation Bill and follow no definite pattern.
“If you recall, there had be conflicting dates given by the House on when Nigerians should expect the passage of the Appropriation Bill,” to Adamawa lawmaker said.