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Fashola Raises Alarm over Ministry’s Budget Alteration by NASS

NAN

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Fashola Raises Alarm over Ministry's Budget Alteration by NASS

Babatunde Fashola

Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, has raised alarm over the insertion of projects outside the purview of his ministry in the 2017 Appropriation Act by the National Assembly.

Fashola, a senior advocate, said it was unfair to the Executive arm for the inclusion of such projects after public hearings on the budget and defence of the fiscal estimates by the ministries.

“What I have in my budget now is primary healthcare centres, boreholes,” he said at an interactive session with editors on Thursday.

“That was the meeting we had with the Acting President and that was the reason why the budget was not signed on time. We were ask to complete those abandoned projects; the budget of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced by the National Assembly from N31 billion to N10 billion. We are owing the contractors about N15 billion and they have written to us that they are going to shut down. Also, the budget of the 2nd Niger bridge was reduced from N15 billion to N10 billion and about N3 billion or so was removed from the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road budget,” he said.

“Everybody is complaining about power supply but they also cut the budget for Manbila power project and the Bodo bridge that connects the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Station was also cut and all these were also discussed. If after we have defended the budget and we had gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?” he said.

According to Fashola, it is unfair to Nigerians after public hearings were conducted with tax payers’ money and consultations with the lawmakers only for the budget to be altered, cut or padded.

The minister said that apart from the 200 uncompleted roads he inherited from the previous administration, the lawmakers added 100 roads.

“These roads are not federal roads and some of them do not have designs, how do we award roads that were not designed irrespective of the power you have? It is unconstitutional for the National Assembly (NASS) to legislate on state roads.

A budget is an estimation plan that set in motion what is to be spent, how much will be borrowed and how much will be collected.

The executive controls all the machinery for collecting taxes and other revenue with relevant data from the Ministries of Finance, Physical Planning and the Budget Office and others.

I am not saying that the legislature cannot contribute to the budget, but I hold the view that it cannot increase the budget because they do not collect the revenue with which to run or implement the budget,’’ the minister said.

Fashola, who held sway as Lagos State Governor between 2007 and 2015, however, said the National Assembly “might mean well and not do the right (thing)”.

He canvassed interdependence and collaboration among the three arms of government rather than independence to ensure a harmonious relationship.

The minister said that without it, the country would not make progress and would be bogged down by the politics of total separation of power and what he called “power of example rather than example of power.’’

“The society benefits more from the power of example and interdependence rather than the example (show) of power; it requires that we show good examples.’’

On the concept of interdependence, Fashola said the President and the Vice-President could not swear themselves into office but by the judicial arm, while the president also proclaims the National Assembly without which it could not start business.

In the same vein, he said the National Assembly confirms ministerial nominees and justices of the courts who are in turn sworn-in by the executive.

He urged the intervention of the judicial arm of government to set the necessary parameters and set things right.

Fashola, however, blamed the electorate for putting pressure on the lawmakers and expecting them to do what was outside their constitutional duties of law-making, representation and oversight.

“There is need for mass orientation and enlightenment for Nigerians not to expect their elected representatives to provide roads, water, light and execute capital projects which is the function of the executive arm.”

NAN

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

7 Comments

  1. jayden

    June 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    when we as nigerians are tired, we would deal with our representatives.
    Right now, we are still enjoying their irresponsibilities.
    with all the lives and time lost on Nigerian roads, especially the LAG-IBD expressway, one would think they would surprise us by being considerate for once

  2. Nuna

    June 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    We are in a big pile of horseshit!

  3. nunulicious

    June 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    ..but Nigerians don’t care.
    This post will generate only 5 or 10 comments if we’re lucky.
    Ngwa, the Biafrans and south-easterners crying foul, ask yourself where is the 2nd Niger bridge supposed to conenct? Yet you allow your senators go scot free. Instead of you to raise hell. smh

    • fortherightsofmen

      June 23, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      How absolutely right can a person be. Nigerians don’t care. As Lagbaja said, we are “200 million mumus.” Post anything here that has no relevance to good governance and how it impacts on our economy (their pockets), and you will see comments. Yeye de smell follow us. Shooor!!! I beg our politicians, make una carry go.

  4. Jay

    June 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    As Nigerians we don’t care about anything that has to do with politics lol just entertainment if it was one hot gossip now,we will see 298 comments. We are the future leaders of tomorrow indeed

  5. Tosin

    June 23, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Fashola has done his part.

  6. Mrs chidukane

    June 23, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    They think no one will talk or notice that’s why they do it. I’m happy the acting president has decided to tell the court to interpret the role of the legislature in budget making.

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