SENATE MAINTAINS STANCE; REPS RAISE HOPE ON 2016 BUDGET PASSAGE

In an att2016_04_22_81409empt to save the nation from further economic hardships, the Senate on Thursday pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2016 Appropria­tion Bill without further delay and send amend­ments for necessary correc­tions later.

The upper chamber, which had a two-hour stormy closed door session, felt unhappy over delay by the president to assent to the appropriation almost one month after it was pas­sage by the two chambers of the National Assembly. It therefore resolved to in­voke Section 58 (5) and 59 (4) to override the presi­dent’s veto powers.

According to Section 58 (5) of the Constitution: “Where the president with­holds his assent and the Bill is again passed by each House by 2/3 majority, the Bill shall become law and the assent of the president shall not be required.

Again Section 59 (4) states: “Where the presi­dent, within 30 days after the presentation of the Bill to him, fails to signify his assent or where he with­holds his assent, then the Bill shall again be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint session, if passed by two-thirds ma­jority of members, the Bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall no longer be required.”

Sources at the close-door meeting disclosed to newsmen that the law­makers deliberating some of the reasons advanced by the Presidency on the delay in assenting the appropria­tion, resolved to send dele­gations to President Buhari to plead with him to sign the budget and thereafter transmit areas that need amendment or corrections.

According to the source, senators noted that it was too late for the legislature to reverse itself by going through the whole process of reworking what was ap­propriated and as such, the only safe landing for both arms of government was for the President to sign the budget otherwise the two chambers would have no option than to override his veto thereby worsening the rife between National As­sembly and the Presidency.

But the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said that the National As­sembly and the Executive are set to resolve issues sur­rounding the 2016 Budget this week.

Dogara made this known when he received a delega­tion of the All Progressives Congress elders and stake­holders from Kwande/Os­hongo Federal Constituen­cy of Benue State in Abuja.

He restated that the ex­ecutive and the parliament will not have any fight over their differences arising from the budget as passed by the National Assembly.

“We know that our people cannot wait forever for the budget and as a re­sponsible government, we cannot afford to go sleep on this. As we speak to you, I know that the executive has sent their observations on the budget, areas they termed ‘grey areas’.

“We’ve taken delivery of that document; we are looking into it and in col­laboration with the Senate. We have arrived at a deci­sion which I will not an­nounce here because that one is for the ears of Mr President only.

Following the resolu­tion by the House of Rep­resentatives mandating the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, to liase with President Bu­hari on the 2016 Budget, the House yesterday con­firmed that it had received a letter from the President containing grey areas on the budget.

Spokesperson of the House, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas, said this while briefing newsmen in Abuja.

According to Hon Nam­das, both chambers are working to look into these grey areas conveyed by the President.

“I want to confirm to you that the Speaker actually met with the President and right now we are in posses­sion of a letter by the Presi­dent identifying grey areas of the 2016 budget.

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