Power tussle delays Reps’ reports on 2016 budget

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Power tussle delays Reps’ reports on 2016 budget

Power tussle delays Reps’ reports on 2016 budget
March 01
06:16 2016

Power tussle and alleged infighting among the members of the House of Representatives delayed the reports on the 2016 budget, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.

Investigations showed that many committee chairmen flouted the deadline given by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, that all committee reports on the N6.07tn budget should be submitted on Friday last week.

Findings indicated that several of the committee chairmen, who later submitted their own reports, did so grudgingly, owing to the infighting and power tussle among the committee heads.

By procedure, the Appropriation Bill (budget) is referred to the House Committee on Appropriation after passing a second reading on the floor.

All other standing committees of the House become “sub-committees” to the Committee on Appropriation for the purpose of working on the budget.

The committees hold budget defence sessions with their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies before finally turning in reports on their findings/recommendations to the Committee on Appropriation for collation.

The Committee on Appropriation is chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin.

The House has 96 standing committees, a majority of which worked on the budget in the last four weeks.

However, investigations by The PUNCH revealed that the power tussle, which played out during the run-up to the election and the composition of the House leadership in 2015, reared its head again during the budget report collation.

It was gathered that some committee heads felt Jibrin was not in their camp during the speakership contest and might not be favourably disposed to accepting the proposals in their reports.

One senior legislative official said, “This issue really delayed the reports of some committees. The chairmen were not comfortable with Jibrin heading the Committee on Appropriation.

“Again, there are chairmen who believed that they are senior to Jibrin, having been in the parliament many years before he (Jibrin) came in 2011.

“These senior chairmen said they didn’t want a situation whereby they would go to report to Jibrin, their junior, who would be asking them embarrassing questions.

“They were deliberately delaying their reports so that they could submit them at the late hour and avoid the razzmatazz of appearing before cameras to answer questions from Jibrin.”

Investigations further showed that many committee chairmen also clashed over the number of MDAs they were to supervise.

“MDAs received conflicting directives from different committees to a point that they did not know which of the committees to report to during the defence,” another National Assembly aide told The PUNCH.

Such clashes were said to have been noticed in the defence sessions of the committees on governmental affairs, education and sports.

However, The PUNCH learnt that there were committee chairmen who gave the excuse that they delayed because they needed more time to tidy up their reports.

Despite the delays, Jibrin’s committee was said to have sat up till 11pm on Friday, insisting that the collation of reports must close that night.

Speaking in Abuja, Jibrin said that, “In all, 60 sub-committees presented their reports and recommendations, covering improvements, shortcomings and actions to be taken in their respective MDAs.”

He praised some committees for their cooperation in ensuring that the National Assembly kept the pledge of passing the budget by the second week of March.

Part of a statement he issued on the work of his committee, read, “However, it is regrettable that some committees still did not meet the deadline and have not submitted any reports.

“Due to the pressure of time, because we have to tidy up the final report with the Senate, the Committee on Appropriation will have to take over the work of such committees by appropriating funds for the MDAs that they supervise.

“The committee will also interface with officials of the Ministry of Finance, Budget Office, on March 3.

“The following committees however failed to submit their reports as mandated by the House leadership: Public Accounts Committee, Loans, Aids and Debt Management, Gas Resources, Public Service Matters, Maritime and Safety, Interior and National Security.”


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