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Reps C’ttee warns MDAs against tampering with 2020 budget

Femi Gbajabiamila

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

The Chairman of the committee, Muktar Betara, who issued the warning in a statement in Abuja, said no MDA has the powers to tinker with the budget as only the National Assembly is statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider, and pass the budget.

He said: “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 some MDAs are making moves to adjust the budget.

“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 the budget except the legislature, which is the National Assembly.”

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

According to him, the Constitution confers appropriation powers on the parliament as well as its responsibilities over the national purse.

The committee chairman added that both the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 did not provide limitations on the National Assembly’s power to amend the Appropriations bill.

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He added: “Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.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

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