BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION: SENATE ACCUSES EXECUTIVE OF DISTORTING FACTS
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA - THE Senate, yesterday, accused the Executive arm of government of not telling the truth that lawmakers made it impossible for implementation of the appropriation bill.
Reacting to statements by President Goodluck Jonathan during the democracy day symposium, the Senate also stressed that there was no room for excuses by the executive over the implementation of the budget against the backdrop that the National Assembly never altered the appropriation bill as presented by the executive.
Speaking yesterday at a public hearing on a bill seeking to establish the erosion control prevention commission, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu however challenged the Executive to go to the Supreme Court or any court over the constitutionality of Legislature role in terms of appropriation for the country.
He said: ''My advice to the executive arm of government is that in matters like this, we should dialogue and find a common ground rather than shifting blames because making of laws is dynamic. I want to believe that the issues just raised regarding appropriation bill, is a distortion of fact that we tore appropriation bill into pieces and made it impossible for implementation. Certainly that is not true.
''I am aware that the 2012 appropriation was returned to Executive the way they brought it. We are challenging them to make sure the 2012 appropriation is intact because we gave them back the way they brought it. Over the years they have always complained that they could not implement because of the inbuilt provisions of the National Assembly, so we expect them to implement it hundred percent because that is their mission.
''At some point he also made reference to how they wanted to go to court, to challenge the role of National Assembly in muddling appropriation bill, that is a welcome development. We want to suggest that the Executive should go to Supreme Court or any court of their choice to look at the constitutionality of our role in terms of appropriation for the country. We will obey whatever the court says but if the Supreme Court decides otherwise, we will obey. We think these are the things we could discuss ordinarily. There is need for closer cooperation between the parliament and the Executive.'
….Demands 5-yr subsidy payment records
ABUJA - THE Senate yesterday demanded import records for the five year subsidy payments period, just as it mandated that any company unwilling to comply with the directive from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA should be penalized forthwith.
Giving the directive, yesterday, at the resumed public hearing of the Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, Appropriations and Finance probing the fuel subsidy funds, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Magnus Abe said: ''Give us the final subsidy payments for 2011 because we believe you should have finished computing your data and give us the final figures. You need to reconcile your present figures with the past figures, forward the details to this committee within two weeks.'
At the hearing both PPPRA and the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, gave conflicting figures on fuel imports, just as the PPPRA gave two sets of figures which angered members of the Committee.
In his presentation, PPPRA Executive Secretary, Reginald Stanley gave only figures which reflected PMS (petrol) figures while that of the NPA included PMS and AGO.