2018 budget: Reps task Buhari on implementation of 1st line charge provisions




The House of Representatives has requested President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the mandatory provisions of the Constitution and other laws in respect to first line charge provisions.

The was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Edward Pwajok (PDP-Plateau) at the plenary on Wednesday.

The first line requires statutory transfers to the National Judicial Council, Niger Delta Development Commission,  Universal Basic Education, National Assembly, Public Compliant Commission, National Human Right Commission as contained in the 2018 Appropriation Act.

The house condemn the breaches of the Constitution and other laws on statutory transfer by the Minister of Finance and the President of the nation.

Moving the motion earlier, Pwajok said that the  1999 Constitution divides and separates Legislative, Executive Judicial powers of the Federation.

He said that it vested the powers in different department and personnel for effective governance.

Pwajok explained that the principle of Separation of Power is the cornerstone of the Presidential System of Government.

He said it was to ensure each department of government had sufficient authority and independence to carry out its functions for the common good.

Pwajok said that it had inbuilt mechanism to ensure checks and balances between the different organs of government and to avoid over concentration of powers in a particular organ. 

The lawmaker said that section 18(2) of the Constitution and other existing laws grant financial autonomy and independence to the various organs of government and some agencies of government.

According to him, section 18(2) envisages that the amount standing to the credit of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Assembly, Judiciary in the consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation shall be paid directly to the said institutions respectively.

He said that the Public Compliant Commission by virtue of section 315 of the Constitution and others agencies are on the first line charge.

Pwajok alleged that the Executive arm which is charged with the responsibility of implementing the law was currently in breach of the laws with particular reference to the 2018 Appropriations Act. 

He said that the Executive had refused to implement the mandatory provisions of the Constitution and laws on statutory transfer and the first line charge .

The lawmaker said it would amount to gross misconduct if it was a deliberate attempt to subvert the Constitution and the foundation of the current presidential system of government.

According to the lawmaker,  the Executive does not possess any discretion on this matter  as it is enjoined by law to transfer what is contained in the Appropriation Act to the institutions that are entitled to statutory transfer; it cannot pick and choose.

He said that the continuation of the unconstitutional acts by the Executive would would lead to disruption and death of democracy.

He said that it would make the Legislature a rubber stamp for the Executive and the Judiciary would loose it autonomy, independence and impartiality.

According to him, when the autonomy of both organs are destroyed, it would lead to dictatorship and bad governance as the institution cannot play the rolls assigned by the Constitution.

In his ruling , the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Yussuf Lassun (APC-Osun) said that the leadership of the National Assembly and all relevant committee would ensure compliance and report back to the house in two weeks. 

He said that the resolution would be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.

The house adjourned sitting to Tuesday April 23. (NAN)