Three financial Analysts, Odilim Enwegbara, Eghes Eyienyen and Martin Udogie on Saturday examined some of the challenges and controversies surrounding the 2013 budget that was recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
While speaking as guests on Channels Television’s weekend programme, Sunrise, the analyst examined the effect of the National Assembly stance of ‘no budget’ for the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), the oil benchmark controversy between the lawmakers and the presidency, constituency projects and the issue of economic growth.
Recall that President Jonathan on Tuesday assented to the 2013 Appropriation Bill, ending the long-drawn disagreement between the executive and the legislature over the bill.
The president signed the N4.987 trillion budget passed by the National Assembly into law at a quiet ceremony witnessed by a few government officials.
The budget was transmitted to the presidency on January 15 and since then, the executive and the legislature had been holding meetings to resolve some grey areas identified in the document.
Among the areas of disagreement between the executive and the legislature are the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget and the provision of zero budget for SEC.
In the video below Messrs Enwegbara, Eyienyen and Udogie discuss these issues and what the 2013 means for the Nigerian economy.
Frank Nweke Jnr, the Director General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) on Thursday said that his group does not support the House of Representatives’ demand to increase the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget from $75 to $82.
Mr Nweke, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that the NESG also does not support the “perennial altercation between the legislature and the executive” arms of governments.
“This latest jack-up in the benchmark price for the 2013 budget is ill-advised. When I first got information about this yesterday, I described it as tragic,” he said.
The House of Representatives’ Minority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday said the power to decide how the revenue earned by Nigeria is spent is the prerogative of the National Assembly not the executive arm of government.
The lawmaker, who was speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, against the fallout between the presidency and the legislature over the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget, said pegging the price of crude oil is a way through which the Federal Government short-changes the states.
“There is no issue of benchmark vis-à-vis the constitution. If we decide we want a benchmark so that we can save, that part of the constitution needs to be amended. There is no issue of benchmark as far as I am concern,” Mr Gbajabiamila.
The Minority leader said though the House of Representative is yet to receive the 2013 budget, it would improper to present a fresh budget when previous one is yet to be implemented.
“The position of the House is very simple. You don’t jump from one to the other without care of the one that comes before. Again, it is very tardy to present a budget when there is a 2012 Budget that is pending,” he said.
A budget expert, Emeka Ejikonye on Thursday said what Nigerians generally refers to a budgeting is mere fiscal policy making activities.
Mr Ejikonye, who was speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, against the fallout between the presidency and the legislature over the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget, said until the Nigerian government “start doing budgeting, Eldorado will continue to elude us.”