It does not seem likely that the amendment bill on the 2013 budget will be passed soon as the National Assembly and the Presidency are heading for another round of collision, with the former accusing the latter of not allowing it to contribute to the bill and make inputs.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Ahmad Maccido in Abuja at the weekend, when he said that the legislature was not in a hurry to pass the bill.
He said the National Assembly would take its time to go through the document thoroughly, which would add to the delay in passing the bill, adding that the amendment being requested by the executive touched all aspects of the budget that had already been passed.
He said, “The amendment we are working on is just like another budget altogether. It seems as if the whole input of the National Assembly into the earlier budget has not been agreed to by the executive.
“They want us to look into our input as a whole. So, we have to sit down again and re-examine it. It is not something we are going to rush because we are going through the whole of the budget again. So, it is going to take us a lot of time like three weeks or more. In any case this is its third week I think.
“Most senators are still not prepared for the amendment bill yet because they are still going through it. Until such a time when they are through, we cannot just put the bill in the Order Paper.”
The Senate Appropriation Committee however assured that the delay in passing the amendment bill would not affect the economy and governance, noting that there was already a budget being implemented at the moment.
“The time we are taking will not cause any problem because we still have a budget that is operational. That one has been passed into law and it is the one being implemented at the moment.
“Until such a time when we pass this amendment bill, that budget that has been signed remained the budget to be implemented”, he said.
The Presidency had sent in the 2013 budget amendment bill on March 19 to deal with contentious issues in the main budget passed a few weeks earlier such as zero allocation to the Securities and Exchange Commission.