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2014 budget: Delay in presentation to ensure inter-governmental harmony

20 November 2013, 12:57

Abuja - The Presidency explained on Tuesday that the delay in presenting the 2014 budget was to ensure inter-governmental harmony between the Executive and the Legislature.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity,  Reuben Abati, told State House correspondents that the delay was also to avoid unnecessary acrimony that usually trailed budget passage.

"Previous acrimony was blamed on failure of inter-governmental relationship.

"The budget has been ready for over a week now.

"However, since the two arms of the National Assembly are yet to harmonise their positions on the crude oil bench mark in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), it was wise for the President to wait until this is done."

"The President will lay the budget before the National Assembly as soon as the harmonisation is concluded," he said.

The presentation of the budget before the joint session of the National Assembly by the president had been postponed twice.

The Senate had earlier rejected the Executive's proposition of oil benchmark of 74 dollars per barrel and instead, raised it to 76.50 dollars per barrel.

Similarly, the House of Representatives had also rejected the 74 dollars per barrel and raised it to 79 dollars.

Both legislative chambers had approved the daily oil production of 2.388mbpd, 2.5007mbpd and 2.5497mbpd for 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively as proposed by the president.

The Sen. Ahmed Makarfi's led Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriations had in its reports on the MTEF and  FSP said the recommendations should be so reflected in the 2014 budget before it could be presented to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.

It would also be recalled that the lack of lack of inter-governmental harmony between the executive and the legislature was responsible for the delay of presidential assent to the 2013 budget which was passed in record time.

The president assented to the budget after over three months of horse-trading and haggling between the executive and legislative arms, over what should or should not be expunged from the budget.

Abati emphasised that the executive was working hard to avoid such acrimony and save Nigeria the unnecessary stress of post budget passage delays.

In the same vein, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak, debunked the claims that the president was avoiding the national assembly over alleged plans by members loyal to the aggrieved PDP members to embarrass him.

"This is not true. First, the president is not scared of any body and secondly, the PDP is one strong united party and as such, no one can embarrass the president in the national assembly," he said.


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