BARLEY 24 hours after he assented to the 2017 budget, acting President Yemi Osinbajo has frowned at the practice of the Legislature of tinkling with Appropriation Bills submitted by the Executive.
Speaking at the flag-off of the Planning of the 2018 budget at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, he maintained that what was sent to the National Assembly as appropriation bill by the Executive remained a property of the Executive.
He said all the legislature was expected to do was to allocate funds and possibly amend the bill but not introduce entirely new items into it.
The acting President also regretted that the passage of the 2017 budget was delayed despite assurances from the National Assembly, noting however that there was less open rancour in the consideration of the 2017 appropriation bill.
He said: “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.”
Osinbajo added: “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 this last year and again. “It now leaves the question about who is supposed to do what.”
Osinbajo said an understanding has been reached with the lawmakers to fund the projects removed by them from the appropriation bill through virement.
He also said that the executive has decided to engage the National Assembly continuously from when the bill is submitted
The acting President admonished that the newly issued Executive Orders would be strictly monitored especially as far as the 2017 budget is concerned.
Osinbajo on Monday, signed the 2017 Budget, christened “Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth,” which he said reflected government’s commitment to ensure strong linkage between the medium-term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).