Olujimi slams executive: NASS not to blame for late budget

OrderPaperToday- Minority leader, Biodun Olujimi, has berated the sour relationship between the executive and the legislature.

According to her, the only period there is effective communication between the two arms of government is when lawmakers defect.

Her submission follows a recent statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, blaming the National Assembly for the annual delay in the passage of the Appropriation Act.

It would be recalled that Buhari made the same accusation during the ‘signing into law’ ceremony of the 2018 budget.

In a statement released on Sunday, Olujimi stated that the executive arm was not telling the truth and advised it to desist from playing politics with sensitive issues like the budgeting process.

She recalled when the President expressed surprise during a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly in June this year that ministers and heads of other agencies have refused to defend the budget proposals of their ministries and agencies before legislative committees.

She reinforced the need for Ministers to be present to avoid the case of budget padding, citing an instance where the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, denied the provision made for purchase of computers in his ministry as stated in the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.

She further advised the executive to “interrogate the efficiency of those involved in budget preparation so that it can realise that one of the causes of delays in budget passage is how the budget estimates submitted to the Legislature come without the necessary details and accompanying documents.

“What was usually laid before the parliament was mere window dressing documents for the purpose of the presentation ceremony and the photo opportunities.”

“It should be noted that just as the Presidency needs to engage legislators for partisan issues, the same approach is more needed on the issues of governance, smooth operation of the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances. When the executive runs down the legislature, it does nobody any good.”

Senator Olujimi faulted them for undermining the legislature and inciting the people against the institution.

“The executive will often go to the public to talk ill of the legislature and blame us for its own failure.

“When the President of the Senate told Senate Correspondents at their annual retreat in Jos that there was need for more engagement, dialogue and discussion between the executive and the legislature for the smooth running of governance, key members of the executive publicly condemned the call.

“We are surprised that the Presidency has now realised the need for constant meetings with legislators when the wave of defection begins to blow around,” she added.

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