Budget: Override presidential veto on early presentation – CSJ tells NASS

Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has called on (NASS) to override the presidential veto for the amendment of section 81 and 121 of the Nigerian Constitution that specified the period within which the President or Governor of a state presents the Appropriation Bill before the or State House of Assembly and for related matters.
President Muhammadu Buhari reserves no right to hold Nigerians to ransome as he has failed to assent to the Bill passed by the NASS, CSJ noted.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, the Lead Director, Bar.
Eze Onyekpere, said the undulating financial year which changes from year to year because of late submission and approval of the budget has done much havoc to the Nigerian people and the economy.
He said the 2017 and 2018 budgets were not assented to until June, adding that the implication is that the economy is subjected to various degrees of uncertainty, stakeholders can no longer plan properly with the budget, fiscal monetary policies as guide and that things remains in a state of flux until the middle of the year, while budget reporting no longer makes sense.
According to him the amendment proposes that instead of the old order, where president and governor’s present the budget estimates at any time in each financial year, they would now be bound to present same not later than 90 days to the end of the financial year.
“The essence of the amendment is to give the legislature adequate time to examine, vet and approve the budget before the end of the presentation year and the beginning of the new year.
“The amendment has secured the approval of both Houses of NASS and that of the required majority of the state houses of Assembly in accordance with section 9 of the Constitution.
But the president has failed, refused or neglected to give assent to same.
It has been more than thirty days since the bill was forwarded to the president for his assent and there is no information in the public domain on his reasons for refusing assent to the Bill.
This refusal of assent is surprising considering the president had in many speeches, including the 2018 budget signing speech, indicated his intentions to return the financial year to the January to December timeline,” he said.

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