NASS set to override Jonathan over 2013 budget
The House of Representatives said yesterday that the National Assembly is exploring all constitutional provisions in a bid to override President Jonathan’s veto on the 2013 appropriation bill. Chairman House committee on media and Public Affairs, Rep Zakari Mohammed (PDP Kwara state) said this at a weekly media briefing in the House of Representatives.
“Right now as we speak, the leadership of the National Assembly are interacting with Mr. President about the 2013 budget and by next week, if nothing has been achieved, we are going to apply the constitution that gives us powers to override his veto.
“We are not afraid to take that decision, we must explore all means available before taking a decision. We still have time before we go into that, the national assembly will act at an appropriate time”.
On why the President refused to sign the budget, Zakari said so far there are three contentious issues delaying the signing of the budget: the issue of benchmark which has been lingering for a while, the unresolved issue of the director general of security and exchange commission (SEC), and the issue of rollover of the 2012 budget.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives denied the security and exchange commission (SEC) votes in the 2013 budget, and insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan must remove the director general of SEC, Ms. Arunma Oteh before SEC could be provided for in the budget.
“We have agreed that the 2012 capital budget component will roll over to April 2013. This means that even the fourth quarter allocation that was done a few days ago would definitely be utilised properly because the implication is that if we end the budget by December 31 it means that some money may have to be returned to the treasury and as the case with some MDAs, the monies because of the rush getting their records together might even be misapplied”.
He debunked rumours that the house will shift ground in order to reach a compromise. Zakari said “it is criminal to change anything, unless the house reconvene and deliberate on it before taking a decision”.
When asked when the national assembly transmitted the budget to the President and on what date will the 30 days ultimatum as stipulated in the 1999 constitution as (amended) will expired, Zakari said ” the constitution demand 30 working days, as far as we are concerned, it is not yet time”.