In an attempt 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.