Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the National Assembly has no right to introduce new projects or modify those contained in an appropriation bill.
Osinbajo said the executive was disappointed in the legislature for delaying the passage of the 2017 Appropriation Bill which he signed on Monday.
He was speaking at the Old Banquet Hall of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja while flagging off the 2018 budget preparation process.
The acting president said: “I am sure that we understand not just how to do it right, but to get it done in good time.
“This last budget, the president presented it last December. Despite the assurances that it will be passed in by February, it was not until May.
“As it turned out, we were quite disappointed that it spent a bit of time before it was approved. And thereafter, we had to go into negotiations with the National Assembly in order to get it right.
“Now, there are these two broad issues about who can do what. The first report is about who can do what. When you present budget to the National Assembly, it is presented as a bill, an appropriation bill.
“And secondly, do not introduce entirely new projects and all of that or modify projects. This is something that we experienced last year and this year again. It now leaves the question about who is supposed to do what.”
Contacted the spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) declined comment. But a ranking senator said they acted within the provision of the Constitution.
“I don’t see any reason for this, there is an agreement on the budget and that is why the issue of virement came on board. Let them vire any project they don’t want to execute.
“As you know it is the constitutional right of the National Assembly to appropriate funds for the welfare and development of the country. You cannot take away this right,” a Senator told our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Okoi Obono-Obla, said part of the 2017 budget will be financed by recovered looted funds.
Obono-Obla said this in Abuja yesterday while speaking with newsmen on what the Federal Government was doing with looted funds so far recovered.
“About 20 per cent of this year’s budget will be financed from our recovery effort,’’ he said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said the Federal Government would, however, liaise with the National Assembly before the funds would be used.