Feel free to return the budget if you don’t like it - APC senator reacts to Buhari’s allegations of ‘padding’ by NASS
- Senator Dino Melaye has stated that President Buhari should have returned the 2018 budget to the National Assembly, if he was unsatisfied with it
- The lawmaker opined that lawmakers were not expected to “rubber stamp” whatever was passed to them by the president
- Melaye said Buhari is free to return the bill to the National Assembly, unsigned, with a note indicating his areas of disaffection
Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) says if President Muhammadu Buhari was displeased with the 2018 budget, he should have returned it to the National Assembly, The Cable reports.
The senator made the comment in response to allegations of 'budget padding' by the National Assembly.
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NAIJ.com notes that President Buhari had expressed reservations about some alterations made by the lawmakers, even though he signed the budget into law.
The president had raised the alarm over the introduction of 6,043 projects, and the increment of the budget by N14.5 billion. He also expressed dismay that lawmakers had reduced allocations for some projects.
However, Buhari said he had decided to sign the bill, “in order not to further slow down the pace of recovery of our economy”.
In response, Melaye opined that lawmakers were not expected to “rubber stamp” whatever was passed to them by the president; and accused Buhari of “trying to whip up sentiments against the National Assembly.”
He stated: “What the president is authorised to do constitutionally, is to present the National Assembly with a bill; a bill is a work-in-progress and not the finished work.
“The reason the Constitution directs the bill to be submitted to the National Assembly is that it expects the National Assembly to vet it and make inputs before passing it in readiness for appropriation act.
“The National Assembly is not expected to rubber stamp whatever bill the president presents. If this was the norm, there would have been no need for the Constitution to direct that the bill should be submitted to the National Assembly in the first place.
“The powers and authority of the National Assembly cannot be eroded by the Presidency. The National Assembly is not a department of the Presidency.
“Mr President should therefore refrain from playing to the gallery and milking the naivety of the masses on the issue.
“In any event, he reserves the prerogative of refusing to append his signature to the bill passed, if it meets with his displeasure. He is also free to return the bill to the National Assembly, unsigned, with a note indicating his areas of disaffection.
“I also ask, in the last three years of this administration, what has been the percentage of implementation of capital budget? Therefore Mr President should halt his chicanery and smear campaign of the National Assembly.”
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Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the Muslim Right Concern (MURIC) on Thursday, June 21, in a statement, described the content of the 2018 budget as a “rip off”.
The Islamic group described the action of the legislators as “signs of deliberate attempt to sabotage government’s effort at speeding up developmental projects in critical areas”.
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