REPS BLAST JONATHAN OVER EMBARGO ON NEW CONTRACTS
The House was reacting to a motion moved by Hon. Ita Enang (PDP/Akwa Ibom) in which he pointed out that the Federal Executive Council had last Wednesday 'illegally placed an embargo on awards of contracts under the 2010 2nd Appropriation Amendment Act
Enang, who is the House Chairman Committee on Rules and Business, recalled how President Goodluck Jonathan had fervently made a request for the extension of the 2010 financial year to March 31, 2011 last November so that the capital part of budget would be implemented to the letter.
He said the President had shown concern over the poor implementation of the budget, which said was around 25% at that time, and wanted more time to improve upon it.
He recalled how the House graciously accepted the request and acted upon it.
To his dismay, he said the President and his cabinet had now agreed to refuse further implementation of the budget after it had become a law.
He also noted that, 'contrary to due process, projects within the competence of Ministerial Tenders Board and sundries were still being selectively and discretely considered and awarded by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of governments, MDAs.
During the debates, members were profuse in their condemnation of the embargo.
'The President and his cabinet have no powers to refuse implementation of the law that has been passed by this House in which the President has signed', said Hon. Andrew Uchendu (PDP/Rivers).
'For the FEC to say that contract would no longer be awarded when the budget implementation is just below 30% in February 2011, then I am sorry for this country', remarked Hon. Halims Agoda (PDP/Delta).
'I have been in the House of Representatives since 1999 and the problem of budget implementation has always been a big issue with the executive', he observed.
'I though this President is going to be different, but he is toeing the same path', he said.
'Then what is the use of the public service if it cannot implement a capital budget that imparts on the economy. The 2011 budget may suffer the same fate if we don't insist that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) rescinds its unpopular decision.
To Hon. Ubale Kiru Jakada (ANPP/Kano), the decision is curious in view of the fact that the President is facing election in a few weeks' time.
'What is the wisdom in the President approving that the 2010 budget would no longer be implemented?. Does it give him any advantage when the electorates get to know that he presides and approves decisions that draws back development?'.
'It is not that there is no money for the implementation. It is just a shocking lack of will to implement a law that is beneficial to all', he said.
Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN/Lagos), fumed that the Executive arm of government was usurping and making a mess of the National Assembly though its contempt to implementing the budget.
'We must rise up to them or the people would hold us responsible', he said.
Many members spoke angrily on the same manner, with no voice of dissent.
The House then resolved to: 'condemn the decision of the Federal Executive Council as a breach of the 2010 second Appropriation Act (Amendment)
'The House also urged the President and, the FEC and all MDAs to continue to implement the second 2010 amended appropriation Act by accepting and considering memorandum for award of contracts up to the 31st of March, 2011.'