By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has passed a N222.360 billion for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the 2017 appropriation bill.
The document titled; Bill for an Act to Authorise the issue from the Federal Capital Territory Administration Statutory Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Account, the Total Sum of 222,360,551,512 (Two Hundred and Twenty-Two Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-One Thousand, Five Hundred and Twelve Naira) was presented by the House Mojority Leader, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos).
He said out of the sum, 52,574,479,667 (Fifty-Two Billion, Five Hundred and Seventy-Four Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty-Seven Naira) only, is for Personnel Costs and the Sum of 41,294,590,480 (Forty-One Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety-Four Million, Five Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Naira) only, is for Overhead Costs whilst the Balance of 128,491,481,366 (One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety-One Million, Four Hundred and Eighty-One Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira) only, is for Capital Projects for the Service of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for the Financial Year Commencing from 1 January and Ending on 31 December..
Out of the total Sum of N222.36 billion the Sum of N52.58 billion is for personnel costs and the sum of N41.30 billion, whilst the balance of N128.49 billion only, is for capital.
Presenting the bill, Gbajabiamila urged members to pass the budget through second reading so that it could be given an expedited consideration.
He explained that the budget would have been presented three weeks earlier but due to some administrative hitches it came late but appealed to lawmakers to pass it to enable the FCT embarks on development projects.
Supporting the bill, Deputy Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Pally Iriase (Edo-APC) also reiterated that the budget proposal was coming late hence there was needed to act on it fast to save time.
However, in his contribution, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers-PDP) citing section 122 of the 1999 constitution argued that the presentation of the budget was unconstitutional because it fell afoul of the provisions of the constitution and should not be passed.
He argued that the 2017 fiscal year was almost running out and for failing to present the budget, it should be stepped aside.
But Chinda’s opinion was however countered by the House leader, who argued that the fiscal calendar was not defined by the constitution to necessarily mean Jan. to Dec. insisting that the budget was still within the provisions of the law.
The Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said that it was even against house rules for lawmakers to drop a bill, which had been read for the second time.
“We don’t have the discretion to stop the passage of the bill when it gets to second reading.
“If you go to page 74 of the House standing rules, the rule says “when a bill is read a second time, it shall be committed to the committee on appropriation, so we don’t have any discretion.”
When the speaker eventually put it to question, the bill was adopted by members.