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2020 Budget: Reps vow to punish errant Nigerian officials

2020 Budget: Reps vow to punish errant Nigerian officials

The House of Representatives has warned officials of Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) against distorting the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The Committee on Appropriation issued the warning on Friday.

Chairman of the committee, Rep. Muktar Betara (APC-Borno) in a statement, said no MDA has powers to touch the approved funds.

He echoed that only the National Assembly was statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider and pass the budget.

“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 and 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,” he said.

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

The lawmaker said that the Constitution confers appropriation powers and monitoring of spending on the legislature.

He added that both the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provide for no limitations on the National Assembly’s power to amend the Appropriations bill.

“Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

We won’t hold back in wielding the big stick on whoever goes beyond his brief to tamper with the budget,” he warned.

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