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COVID-19: Reps C’ttee cautions MDAs against tampering with 2020 budget

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The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation  has cautioned  Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) against tampering with the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The Chairman of the committee,Rep. Muktar Betara (APC-Borno) ,issued the warning in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, no MDA has powers to tinker with the budget as only the National Assembly is statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider and pass budget.

“There are  reports that  following the downward review of the budget from N10.59 trillion to N10.52 trillion due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As a result of the dwindling oil prices, some MDAs were already adjusting the budget proposal to suit their needs.

“Such acts will not be condoned by the National Assembly as any MDA or official found to be engaged in such illegal practice will be made to face the music.

“I want to warn that no other arm or department of government has any power over budget except the legislature, which is the National Assembly,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the process to review the budget was ongoing in line with the powers of the National Assembly.

He said that the Constitution confers appropriation powers on the parliament as well as its responsibilities over the national purse.

According to him, both the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provide for no limitations on the National Assembly’s power to amend the Appropriations bill. 

“Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation,  except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

“Therefore, we shall not shirk in our responsibilities and we will also not hesitate to wield the big stick on whoever goes beyond his brief to tamper with the budget,” he said.

Betara said that because of the importance the National Assembly attach  to the budget, members of the relevant committees would continue work on it during the two-week Sallah break.

He assured that the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation is committed to working with other relevant committees, the Senate and Executive to have workable and implementable budget to help the country overcome the negative economic effects of COVID-19. 

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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