A group known as Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has called on the National Assembly to expeditiously override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the bill which prescribes the timeframe for the presentation of Federal and State budget estimates by the president and governors to the national assembly and the state houses of assembly.
While making the call, the Lead Director of the centre, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, said that the call was based on the understanding that there can be no meaningful reform of the budgeting process without fixing the timeframe for presentation and approval of the budget.
“In making this call, we are convinced that the President has not benefited from proper advice before refusing assent to the bill. Evidently, this bill should have been a celebrated quick win for the administration considering that the President had, in many speeches, declared the intention of the executive to restore the financial year to the January to December timeline” he said.
According to CSJ, the amendment (Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 28) Bill, 2017) proposes that instead of the old order, where the president and governors present the budget estimates at any time in each financial year, they would now be bound to present same not later than 90 days to the end of the financial year.
“The amendment proposes a new subsection 1 (a) to the two sections by giving a timeline to NASS and state houses of assembly to pass the budget for the incoming year before the end of the financial year in which the budget estimate is presented, vis before the commencement of the next financial year.
“ Essentially, budgets will no longer be presented late or approved late like what happened in the last three years. The budget for the year will now be ready on or before January 1 of every year.