Delegates at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, on Thursday unanimously agreed that henceforth, government would shut down its operations whenever the President or the National Assembly fails to meet the deadlines set for the passage of the Appropriation Bill.
*Delegates at the ongoing national conference in Abuja
This was contained in a release issued in Abuja, signed by Akpandem James, assistant secretary, media and communications.
According to the Conference, Section 82 of the 1999 Constitution which deals with authorization of expenditure in default of appropriation should be amended in order to stop any spending by government when there is a delay in the passage of the budget with established deadlines.
The decision was taken after delegates completed debate and adoption of resolutions on the Report of the Committee on Public Service headed by Engineer Ebele Okeke and Ambassador Adamu Aliyu as deputy chairman.
Meanwhile the Conference had earlier agreed that Appropriation Bill for the coming year must be presented to the National Assembly on or before September 30 of every year while the process of passage by the National Assembly must be completed within two months for Presidential assent in December.
The conference went ahead to suggest that three amendments be done to Section 59 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, stating that; where the National Assembly fails to consider and pass the Appropriation Bill within the stated time frame, the bill shall be sent to Mr President for his/her assent, adding that failure to adhere to the time frame stated for the presentation of the Appropriation Bill shall form part of the definition of misconduct as stated in Sections 142 (11) and 188 (11) respectively.
It also added that in the event that the budget is not approved by the 2nd of January, Government should operate on the basis of 75% of previous year’s Budget as an interim measure to avoid shut down, but all three suggestions were rejected as delegates insisted that failure to meet the deadlines by either of the parties should result in a shut-down of government, as no expenditure would be allowed as contained in Section 82 of the 1999 Constitution.
The delegates who disagreed said it would help stop the current situation where both the Executive and the Legislature do not seem to be bothered about delays in budget presentation and approval. Giving conditions in a situation of failure was viewed as indulgence.
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