APC's directive on Budget assault on the people says Group…urges Jonathan to be firm on anti gay law
The call by the All Progressive Congress (APC) ots legislators to block the passage of all executive bills most especially the budget, ministerial nominees and service chiefs has been described as an assault on the Nigerian people.
The Tax Payers Association of Nigeria (TAPAN) which made the statement in Abuja sunday also urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to be cowed by any nation or group over the anti-gay law.
In the statement signed by chairman Board of Trutees, Mr Val Nzekwe and President Phillip Ilukhulo, the association maintained that to block the budget because of the local crisis in Rivers State was taking the role of opposition to the extreme.
According to TAPAN ” we aware in a true federalism the opposition has the right to differ on issues including the content of the budget, but to say because Gov Amaechi has some issues with the State Police boss, we should block the budget is absurd and unfortunate”
TAPAN argued further that ” if the opposition has issues with the content of the budget or they are not satisfied with the President's nominees tey have the right to disagree but not out a local issue that has no bearing on the budget.”
” If you block the budget and stop service chiefs and new ministers, what purpose would it serve. How would the state function. what happens to sectors like health and education, what about the wages of the federal workers”
On the anti gay law, TAPAN said ” We should not allow western nations or groups to force some alien culture on us. Same sex marriage has no place in our culture. President must stand firm”
TAPAN also called for amendment of Section 85 (2) of the 1999 Constitution which empowers the auditor-general of the federation or anyone authorized by him to audit “the public accounts of the Federation and of all offices and courts of the Federation” and submit his report to the National Assembly, but says the office cannot audit the NNPC but provide NNPC and similar bodies with a list of qualified external auditors to choose from, guide on fees to pay the external auditors, comment on their accounts and the external auditor's reports.
“Speaking On the missing $10.8 billion from the Federation Account, at the Budget presentation last week, Okonjo-Iweala vowed that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must return the missing fund.
According to her, the role of the Federal Ministry of Finance is to ensure that the maximum amount of revenue flows into the Federation Account.
She said that the ministry had played its role in the remittances face-off between the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), adding that NNPC must explain how it spent the money and remit the unspent balance to the national treasury.
' Let me be absolutely clear that the ministry under my stewardship will always stand for accountability and for ensuring that monies that belong to the treasury are paid in or at least accounted for” she said.
TAPAN also urged the National Assembly to look into the statutes including the constitution that shields the NNPC from scrutiny. It said “ we recall what the auditor General Samuel Ukura said recently about auditing NNPC. He said his office does not audit the accounts of NNPC for now in line with the provisions of section 85(3)(b) of the Constitution as earlier stated. This is absurd”
Ukura had said , “There have been some ethical and professional threats hampering the capability of OAuGF to carry out the vetting and periodic checks of the Accounts of Government Statutory Corporations, Commissions etc including NNPC Operations (as a conglomerate with about 20 sub-organisations, 12 Government Agencies) and about 30 companies (subject to issuance of new licenses) operating in the oil and gas Industry in accordance with sections 85(4)and comment on same having been audited by NNPC appointed Auditors in line with section 85(3)(b) as a consolidated report of this kind that would meet your need.
“It is hoped that once the Audit Act is passed into law, these threats shall be mitigated by proper repositioning of the OAuGF to carry out the audit of these Institutions. Consequently, the OAuGF does not audit the accounts of NNPC for now in line with the provisions of section 85(3)(b) of the Constitution as earlier stated.”