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.”