Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to totally abandon the 2017 Budget, adding that its fiscal targets must be enforced and provisions complied with as authorised by the legislature.

Similarly, he disclosed that the 2018 Budget passage may suffer delay caused by inadequate consultations between the MDAS and various over- sighting Committees of the National Assembly.

He made these known while delivering remarks at the occasion of the presentation of the 2018 Budget Estimates by President Muhammadu Buhari at the National Assembly.

Dogara said, “Mr. President, as legislators, what agitates us is the prospects of totally abandoning the 2017 Budget and the dire consequences of doing so.

“The questions that must be answered include whether we have effectively enforced 2017 fiscal targets and whether managers have complied with the budget as authorized by the legislature.

“Our experience with the implementation of the 2016 Budget amply demonstrates that obeying our Appropriation Laws maximises the release of our potentials while violating the Appropriation Laws caps the release of our national potentials.

“This means that we have to redouble our efforts in implementing the 2017 Budget, if we must retire it in January or at the very least rollover most of the projects in 2017 budget to 2018. No need to remind us that fiscal indiscipline is as grievous as corruption which this government is busy eliminating.”

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring the provisions of the 2016 Appropriation Act which required the budget to last for 12 months in line with the provisions of S. 318 of the Constitution, from May 2016 when it was assented to, to May 2017, he said the singular act “enabled the Executive to report an accomplishment of over N5 Trillion expenditure out of the N7.4 Trillion budgeted for 2016, an unprecedented record by all standards, made possible only because the execution of the budget was allowed to last for 12 months.That is what the National Assembly has always called for inline with the original intent of the framers of our constitution.

 

On the 2018 budget preparation, he stated, “Once again, let me place it on record that the 2018 Budget preparations suffer from inadequate consultations between the MDAS and various over- sighting Committees of the National Assembly. Consequently, one can only hope and pray that it does not lead to delay in consideration and passage of the Budget.”