Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara
has said that it might be necessary to introduce some amendments in the relevant sections of the constitution in order to ensure a predictable budgeting system in the country.
Dogara explained that Section 81 (1) might be amended to read thus: “The President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each House of the National Assembly not later than ninety days before the end of the financial year, estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the federation for the next following financial year”.
While addressing his colleagues in his resumption speech yesterday, the Speaker said that with the crashing prices of crude oil in the international market and the concomitant impact on the economy, it would be beneficial to take these views and decisions as they consider the 2016 budget.
He maintained that submitting a budget at least 3 months before the end of a financial year was consistent with international best practices and allows the parliament enough time to scrutinise and pass it before the commencement of a financial year.
According to him, “This would do away with the current provision that allows the President to present the budget at any time before the end of the financial year.
“Furthermore, Section 82 of the Constitution may also need to be amended to reduce the period allowed for pre-budget expenditure authorisation by Mr. President from six months to three months, as this distorts the budget process.
“Time has come also to enforce the reporting requirements imposed in the yearly appropriation bills on the Minister of Finance and various MDAs”.
The speaker noted that the recent monetary and fiscal policies aimed at preventing money laundering and protecting Nigeria’s currency had resulted in avoidable hiccups in the country’s international financial transactions.
He said it has had multi-faceted counter-productive implications for commerce, foreign investor promotion, students and Nigerians in Diaspora.

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