2018 Appropriation Bill Will Be Passed ‘Very Soon’ – Azubogu

Chris Azubogu

 

The Deputy Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr Chris Azubogu, has assured Nigerians that the 2018 Appropriation Bill will be passed “very soon”.

Azubogu gave the assurance during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He, however, asserted that he is speaking on behalf of his committee, as the actual time as to when the appropriation bill would be passed can only be confirmed from the joint leadership of the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re Working To Ensure 2018 Budget Comes To Effect March 31’

Asked if the bill would be passed before the end of March, the lawmaker said: “a couple of weeks from now.

“It doesn’t squarely lie with me because we have a bicameral House, and we have two leaderships – the processes involve them. With the job I do (as the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation), of collating what the standing committees are bringing to me, it (the process) is ongoing.”

The lawmaker who represents Nnewi North/South/Ekwusigo constituency of Anambra State the delay in the passage of the budget does not hinder the executive from continuing with its projects.

According to him, the 2017 Budget is still in place while the legislature ensures it is being implemented adequately.

On how the National Assembly plans to roll over budget provisions in the previous year, Azubogu supported the need for a “transitional programme” but it requires a permission of the executive and the legislature.

He added that the 8th Assembly is always ready to work with the executive to ensure it delivers the dividends of democracy to the people.

The lawmaker, however, noted that ensuring the passage of the budget requires series of processes on the part of the executive and the legislature.

He said, “the National Assembly is doing a detailed work. The volume of what to do in passing appropriation bill is not very easy. Come to terms of National Assembly, you have a whole lot of committees doing different jobs, and these are people mandated by the law to do their work.”

Improper Budget Processes Responsible For Nigeria’s Backwardness – Pat Utomi

A renowned Professor of Economics, Pat Utomi, has blamed Nigeria’s backwardness on the lack of vision as well as absence of consultation of the masses in the budget processes which according to him, is made worse by leaders without capacity.

Professor Utomi who was a guest speaker at the maiden Budget Roundtable Seminar of the UNIzik Business School of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Speaking on the theme: Budget Processes in Nigeria, Challenges and Implication in National Development, he trailed the problem of the country from the military era to over dependence on oil and to the cluelessness of some Nigerian leaders.

He stated that as a matter of urgency, a complete and total reform of government is what the country needs.

Furthermore, he advocated leadership brilliance and disciplined execution of budgets which would have peoples’ priorities reflected in order to save the economic situation in the country.

Other speakers also insisted that a budget must contain what the people want, while putting in perspective, future economic challenges and changes for easy and proper adaptation and adjustment.

Keynote speaker and House member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Mr Chris Azubogu, noted that asides poor funding of budget, lopsided budgeting, deficit and high profile debt profile, citizen participation is a major factor affecting the actualization of the national budget.

He however gave an assurance of imminent budget reforms.

House Yet To Receive Executive Bill On Emergency Powers

House, Emergency Powers, Executive BillThe House of Representatives says it has not received the much talked about executive bill, seeking to give President Muhammadu Buhari emergency powers to tackle the economy.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Representative Emmanuel Orker-Jev, said the House was yet to get the bill.

He was speaking on Tuesday at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, upon resumption of the House after its annual recess.

Some lawmakers, Yusuf Tajudeen, Chris Azubogu and Obinna Chidoka told Channels Television on Tuesday that the bill, if presented, would be subjected to proper scrutiny.

They agreed that Nigeria needed to take active steps to revive the economy from its present stage of recession.

However, some Nigerians expressed doubt if the bill would be sent to the National Assembly or if sent, weather it would be passed by the legislative.

Legislative Bottlenecks

Giving his opinion on the yet to be presented bill, a member of the House, Rima Shawulu, had disagreed with the idea during an interview on Sunrise Daily.

Shawulu claimed that passing such a bill could enable the President to make decisions at will regarding projects, insisting that the Nigerian economy does not call for emergency powers.

On the contrary, a lawyer, Sanusi Musa, said the idea of seeking emergency powers was a good one, as the government must have seen the need to act faster in fixing the economy.

Musa agreed with the belief that legislative bottlenecks must be put aside if the economy must advance and added that seeking the help of the National Assembly would not prevent it from performing its roles of checking the executive and over-sighting all their activities.

Court says Hembe has corruption case to answer

An Abuja High Court has dismissed the application filed by the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe seeking to quash the corruption charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ruling on the application filed by the embattled lawmaker, Justice Abubakar Umar dismissed the suit on the ground that a prima facie case has been established against Mr Hembe and his co-accused, Chris Azubogu who was the deputy chairman of the committee on capital market.

Justice Umar also held that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the case filed by the anti-graft agency as the agency had sought the leave of the court to file the two count charge of corruption against the law makers.

Justice Umar while adjourning the case to 18 July for trial however took a swipe at the EFCC over the inability of the prosecution to proceed with the case after ruling saying the judiciary is being unjustly accused of delaying corruption cases.

The embattled lawmaker had filed an application insisting that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to okay him for trial, saying the proof of evidence tendered against him by the commission failed to disclose a prima-facie criminal case capable of warranting his prosecution.

The anti-graft agency had also in a 2-count charge it filed against the two lawmakers, alleged that they had at various times, collected gratifications from the Securities and Exchange Commission including funds to attend a capital market conference in the Dominican Republic which they failed to attend.