Nothing wrong with NASS increasing budget – PPA Chairman

The National Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chief Peter Ameh, said National Assembly did no wrong in increasing 2018 Budget from N8.61 trillion to N9.12 trillion.

Ameh made the observation in an interview on Thursday in Abuja.

The Appropriation Bill was increased the legislature N508 billion, from N8.61 trillion proposed President Muhammadu Buhari when he presented it to the assembly in November, 2017.

Ameh said action of the lawmakers was in line with the reality on , adding assembly had explained reasons for the increase, which to oil benchmark and exchange rates.

The Appropriation Committees of both chambers of the assembly had on Tuesday laid their reports on the budget before their respective chambers, preparatory to passage of the bill.

In their respective reports, they increased the oil price benchmark to 51 dollars per barrel as against 45 dollars per barrel, which the president premised his proposal on.

They also bench marked crude oil production at 2.3 million barrels per day and exchange of N305 to one dollar.

Ameh said that people were not looking at why the budget was increased, but “are looking at it as if it is selfish intention of the national assembly’’.

“The national assembly is not a rubber stamp and the executive too, is not a perfect organ. If the Assembly is a rubber stamp, the executive will not taken the budget there.

“ What the assembly does is to look at areas that might cause us problems. The increment is in tandem with the reality on .

“They look at it critically and then take decision; the increment from N8.61 trillion to 9.12 trillion is not a problem.

“Our budget must the budget that will drive the economy and impact on the people.’’

The party chairman, however, advised Buhari to immediately study and assent to the Appropriation Bill as passed.

“The president should assent to it on time so that Nigeria can put to work and for there to massive infrastructural development.

“He should sign it so that money will pumped into the economy to enable our people to enough to take care of their families,’’ he said.

He also for adequate cash-backing for the budget when signed into law, saying that most times, “our budget is not implemented beyond 50 per cent’’.

Recalling recent past where budget was returned to the national assembly, Ameh advised the two arms of government to see themselves as partners in progress.

“The National Assembly and the Executive are co-arms of the government. The president should see the national assembly as partners in progress and vice versa.

“If they are collectively working , there will be no need to return any passed bill

“If the party is working , what they should done is to a pre-budget passing meeting.

“In most civilised countries where the national assembly is controlled one party and with the executive in close working relationship, what they do is to have a pre-budget passing meeting.

“They discuss areas of and put them under a favourable agreement and pass the budget.’’

According to Ameh, believe that dialoguing before taking decisions will help us to reduce the acrimony that currently exists between the legislature and the executive. (NAN)