By Patrick Andrew
Co-chairman of the Committee on Politics and Governance, Chief Olu Falae has thrown light on the committee’s recommendation that late submission of the budget be made an impeachable offence.
According to the former presidential aspirant, the committee opted to recommend impeachment for any president who fails to submit the budget latest by the end of the September each year, because members consider such act as economic sabotage. He also noted that the National Assembly must equally endeavour to pass same at most by the last working day of December of same year.
Chief Falae said without such sanction, the current lackadaisical attitude towards budget submission and the late processing and passage of same will continue unabated to the detriment of the entire nation.
“We have made a very firm resolution of making sure that the budget cycle is put in the constitution. What we are recommending is that the Constitution should say, latest by 30th September or earliest working day before the 30th of September, the budget must be presented to the National Assembly.
“It will be an impeachable offence for anybody not to present budget before 30th of September. Then the National Assembly has the rest of October, November or latest 31st of December, or the earliest working day before the 31st of December, which the budget must be approved ready for implementation from January 1,” he said.
According to him, the committee has been displeased with the current trend where the budget is usually submitted late by the executive leading to equally late consideration and its subsequently passage.
“When this happens as had been the case for several years now, the economy is usually at a standstill, nothing practically happens because economic activities are held just because people don’t have the full drift of government policy.
“Besides, most businesses are left without the necessary lubricant and the result is that people suffer because most businesses depend on government financial policy to drive their businesses and of course without the budget the general policy direction will be lacking,” he said.
The former Secretary of the Government of the Federation said making late submission an impeachable offence will arrest the impunity with which the executive has treated budget submission and passage since 1999.
“We want to put an end to this impunity. We want things done the way it ought to and ensure that economic activities are truly driven by active financial policies as articulated in the budget,” he concluded.
PeoplesDaily recalls that late submission of budget has been a recurrent decimal, with resulting delay in its passage. For instance, five months into 2014, this year’s budget is yet to be assented to. It was not only submitted late, but the NASS eventually passed it late as well.