2017 budget: NASS under attack for slashing, Lagos-Ibadan road, others’ votes


Prominent groups and economic experts have criticised the National Assembly for reducing the budgetary allocations for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.
The lawmakers reduced the budget for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from N31bn to N10bn, while the vote for the Second Niger Bridge was cut from N15bn to N10bn.
But as against N115bn budgeted for the federal lawmakers in 2016, the National Assembly hiked its budget to N125bn in 2017.

Condemning the lawmakers, civil rights organisations said the National Assembly, by slashing allocations for the projects and increasing its own votes, had shown that it was selfish.
The News Agency of Nigeria had earlier on Thursday reported that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), had raised the alarm over the insertion of projects outside the purview of his ministry into the 2017 Appropriation Act by the National Assembly.
Fashola 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 health care centres, boreholes,” he said at an interactive session with journalists.
“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 asked to complete those abandoned projects; the budget of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced by the National Assembly from N31bn to N10bn.
“We owe the contractors about N15bn and they have written to us that they are going to shut down.
“Also, the budget of the 2nd Niger bridge was reduced from N15bn to N10bn  and about N3bn or so was removed from the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road budget.’’

N’Assembly inserts 100 road projects into budget
Fashola added the federal legislators did not spare the efforts to improve power supply in the country as it also slashed the votes to a few major power projects.
The minister stated, “Everybody is complaining about power supply but they also cut the budget for Mambila power project and the Bodo Bridge that connects the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Station.
“If after we have defended the budget and we have gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?’’
The minister said apart from the 200 uncompleted roads he inherited from the previous administration, the lawmakers added 100 roads.
The minister added, “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 to legislate on state roads.
“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.”

Fashola, the immediate past Lagos State governor, canvassed interdependence and collaboration among the three arms of government rather than independence to ensure a harmonious relationship.
The minister said without it, the country would be bogged down by the politics of total separation of powers.
“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,” he said.
Fashola, however, blamed the electorate for putting pressure on the lawmakers to provide all manner of projects for them.
“There is the need for mass orientation and enlightenment for Nigerians not to expect their elected representatives to provide roads, water, light and execute capital projects, which are the functions of the executive arm,” the former governor stated.
2017 budget: NASS under attack for slashing, Lagos-Ibadan road, others’ votes 2017 budget: NASS under attack for slashing, Lagos-Ibadan road, others’ votes Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Friday, 23 June 2017 Rating: 5

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