Members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, accused the Executive of shortchanging the Legislature and the Judiciary.
It, therefore, said it would set up an ad-hoc committee to ensure all outstanding arrears due to both the National Assembly and the Judiciary from the 2018 and 2019 appropriations acts are paid.
Funds allocated to both the National Assembly and Judiciary were included in the first-line charge (or statutory funds), a special category of funds which mandates the Federal Government, after receiving revenues, to make 100 per cent releases before other considerations.
But the House questioned why the minister of finance withheld funds to the National Assembly over two years.
The House thus agreed to invite the management of the National Assembly to brief an ad-hoc committee on the status of releases to the legislature from January 2018 to December, 2019.
Babangida Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), who moved the motion, said the matter had been pending since the eighth Assembly.
He noted that on December 20, 2018, the Committees on Finance and Judiciary submitted a report on the need to ensure the implementation of the National Assembly budget of 2018, and the House adopted it.
He added that the report showed that “on (a) monthly basis, what the National Assembly and the Judiciary received on First Line Charge was short by N1.2 billion and N833 million respectively from January to November 2018.”
Meanwhile, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has raised the hope that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be passed mid 2020.
He stated this on at the Nigeria Natural Resources Charter (NNRC) launch of the 2019 Benchmarking exercise report and policy Dialogue themed: “Evaluating Petroleum Resources Management in Nigeria” in Abuja yesterday
The Speaker, represented by the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Henry Nwawuba, said the bill would have been passed during the eighth Assembly, but for some disagreements between the legislature and the executive.”
Gbajabiamila said that the benefit of the PIB to Nigeria was like air to humans.
He said that the bill would basically open up the entire industry to the required investment needed, so the country could benefit maximally.