The House of Representatives, on Thursday, threatened to commence impeachment move on President Goodluck Jonathan over what it described as poor implementation of the 2012 budget.
The lawmakers also cautioned the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the non-release of funds to ministries, departments and agencies of government to implement projects.
They further urged President Jonathan to direct the Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to stop forthwith her violation of the 2012 budget as passed by the National Assembly and release, accordingly, first and second quarters’ appropriation to the MDAs and implement the budget to the letter.
The House’s took made these resolution following a motion moved by Albert Sam-Tsokwa and 20 others entitled: “Poor implementation of the 2012 budget,” noting that, “while the recurrent expenditure has kept pace with expectations, capital budget implementation seriously lags behind and leaves much to be desired.”
According to Mr Sam-Tsokwa, “whereas the majority of MDAs have reached advanced stages in the implementation of the procurement process, they are unable to release contract award letters as a result of the release of insufficient funds or non-release of funds, which has further exacerbated the crushing burden of accumulated debts.”
He said that “the 2012 national budget was passed with aggregate expenditure figure of N4.887 trillion, including the N180 billion for the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P).”
Various chairmen of the House committees that contributed to the debate, which generated heated arguments and emotions, berated the executive for the poor implementation of the 2012 budget and equally frowned on the false alarm being raised by the Minister of Finance that the country was broke.
The lawmakers then submitted that from the data they obtained from various government revenue generating agencies, except the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country’s economy was not doing badly, as most of the agencies were said to have already surpassed their targets.
The Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamiala, said that “President Goodluck Jonathan promised Nigerians a budget of transformation, but what we have is a budget of abracadabra and a voodoo economy.”
Backing his impeachment call with Section 143, Mr Gbajabiamila said, “if by the time we resume in September 18, 2012, budget has not been implemented by 100 per cent, we shall begin the impeachment process on Mr President.”
However, the House Leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, cautioned the lawmakers on the impeachment threat, stressing that she believed that before the lawmakers resumed from their recess on September 18, 2012, things would have changed for the better.
The Presidency have reacted to the impeachment threat by House of Representatives on President Goodluck Jonathan over budget implementation saying the President is equally worried by the concerns raised by the House.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said that President Jonathan was on the same page with the House of Representatives on the need for efficient budget implementation.
He said there was no conflict between the two arms of government, noting that the President was also concerned about budget implementation.
Vanguard newspaper reported Mr Abati as saying “the House and the President are on the same page on budget implementation. Just as the House is concerned, Mr. President is concerned too. What happened today (yesterday) in the House was ironic and a big coincidence because two ministries: interior and police affairs, were in the Villa to make presentations on their key performance index.
“Each ministry came with all the parastatals under it and presented their KPI in relation to Budget 2012. They were required to state their mandates, the money they collected under Budget 2012, their level of performance and their challenges if any and then define their next steps. After each presentation, there was robust discussion.”