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Ahead of 2014 Budget, Rep Committees to embark on one-week oversight of MDAs

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The African Examiner

Speaker, Nigeria's House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal

Speaker, Nigeria’s House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal

Worried by the low level of implementation of the 2013 budget, the House of Representatives has resolved that all its standing committees will proceed on a one-week oversight visits to Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.

The House said reports from the oversight by the various Committees will be subsequently submitted to the Committees on Legislative Budget and Research and that of Legislative Compliance and that the two Committees will collate them and submit a joint report to plenary for consideration.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who disclosed this in his remarks at the resumption from recess of the third session of the Seventh Assembly of the House on Tuesday in Abuja, said the report will guide the House in the consideration of the 2014 budget proposals.

The Speaker lamented that the level of implementation of the 2013 capital appropriation is way below expectation, especially when viewed against the background of its early submission by the executive and equally early passage by the legislature, adding that budget implementation still remains a sore point of governance.

“We have consistently advised that the procurement process be employed in a value added manner rather than the slavish adherence to and unproductive worship of procedures. It would appear that not much progress has been made in that regard. So far by the information and statistics at our disposal there would appear to be no justification for this state of affairs.

“However in order to be comprehensively guided, all the Committees of the House will proceed on one week of oversight to MDAs at the end of which they shall submit their reports to the Committees on Legislative Budget and Research and that of Legislative Compliance, the two Committees will collate same and submit a joint report to plenary for consideration. This report will guide the House in the consideration of the 2014 budget proposals”, Rt. Hon. Tambuwal said.

He also hinted that the House was poised to amend the Electoral Act with a view to sanitising the conduct of elections in the country.  “We also hope to amend the Electoral Act again to see how we can ensure that no one takes unfair advantage of the existing loopholes to rig elections. The fact is that until we can ensure that each vote counts in this country, the people will always be taken for granted by their leaders. We therefore want to produce a solid Electoral Act, comparable to any in the world and able to stand the text of time”, he added.

He commended members of the House for their the historic role they played in the last constitutional amendment process, noting that though the pressures were daunting yet they all stood on the side of the Nigerian people.

“By this we have proved beyond doubt that when we seek the people’s opinion through public hearings and consultation is for real. This notwithstanding there is still persistent opinion that certain areas of the constitution requiring amendment were not considered in the last exercise. I wish to assure all Nigerians that constitutional amendment is a continuous process and thus the House of Representatives will take up the issues which remain unaddressed for consideration through the legislative process”, he further stated.

Rt Hon. Tambuwal therefore urged members of the public to feel free to submit whatever proposals they desire to be considered by the National Assembly in the next phase.

On recent the outbreak of interparty and intraparty squabbles in the country, the Speaker noted development further exposed the weaknesses of internal party democratic culture and interparty intolerance in the country, warning that such trends are viruses that politicians must resolve to dispense with in order to sanitize the political space.

He however added that the tension and schism being generated in the nation’s political firmament was not all together unexpected given the approach of 2015, adding that caution and maturity should be exercised.

“I wish to caution that we exercise the highest restraint to the obvious distractions that the approaching 2015 is bound to bring so that we do not lose our focus in the diligent pursuit of our mandate. The proper timing for 2015 will surely come and at that time, we shall do the needful.

“In the face of these, I must not fail to commend Honourable members for their general mature comportment in reacting to the issues involved in the political face off. This mature comportment has saved the situation from further escalation”, he stressed.

Also commenting on the spate of insecurity across the country, he observed that though some strides have been made in the area of securing lives and property, but it is also undeniable that the security situation still remains precarious.

According to him, “The truism that life has become cheap is sad commentary. The House of Representatives will continue to support fully, all measures by the executive to stem the tide of the rampant waste of lives and property. One challenge that has become evident is that legislative action may be required for long term solutions and we shall not shy away from this”.

The Speaker also assured that legislative work on the on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has recorded some progress as public hearings on the bill have been successfully conducted in the six geo political zones and Abuja according to an interim report to Leadership of the House by the Ad hoc Committee on the PIB.

“The importance of this bill to the economy cannot be overemphasized, accordingly the committee is hereby directed to expedite work and submit its report to the House soonest. My dear colleagues, it is obvious from this rundown that there is lot of work to be done and this justifies my earlier appeal that we must remain focused and resist all distractions. I am confident that with your usual sense of commitment and patriotism we can accomplish the tasks before us”, he further stated.


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