Reps to pass budget estimates for second reading today
The House of Representatives is expected to pass for second reading today the 2014 budget estimates valued at N4.6 trillion.
The House had commenced debates on the general principles of the 2014 budget on Tuesday and promised to continue deliberations on the budget estimates on Wednesday.
However, at the continued debates on the general principles of the budget yesterday, members expressed divergent views on the budget estimates, but after long debates, the Speaker, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, suspended further debates on the appropriation bill.
The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Honourable John Enoh in his contribution maintained that, 'this bill is worthy to pass for second reading', stressing that, the 2014 budget 'is budget of job creation and inclusive growth.'
The Minority Whip of the House, Honourable Samson Osagie, in his own contribution, pooh-poohed the 2014 budget estimates saying that the executive arm of government, over the years, have failed in the implementation of budget.
To this end, he raised questions over depletion of excess crude account funds, as well as dwindling of oil revenue, missing pension fund, and equally faulted job creation plan of the government through YOU-WIN and SURE-P projects.
Ford Ike (PDP, Anambra) towed similar line of argument. Noting that the budget is a process, he argued that the document should be read for the second time 'so that the committees can work on what has been passed to them.'
In his own contribution, Honourable Forte Dike said that there was need for the lawmakers to pass the budget for second reading, saying, 'What we find wrong with the budget, the constitution has given us power to appropriate. If we stay here and criticise the government we are simply pursuing shadows. The budget is not a political process but a financial one. It is easy to criticise the government. But we must be reasonable and should not play politics with the process'.
Another member Honourable Mustapha Khabeeb also raised concern over the controversial 31 government revenue generating agencies, taking one of the agencies as an example, he saremix particular governemnt agency remit only 25 per cent of its earnings and withhold huge portion of 75 per cent.