The House of Representatives has warned Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) against tampering with the 2020 budget.
Chairman House Committee on Appropriation, Muktar Aliyu Betara gave the warning in a statement saying that such acts will not be condoned by the National Assembly.
The chairman gave the warning as the House received the revised 2020 budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari after its downward review.
He said any MDA or official found to be engaged in such illegal practices will be sanctioned appropriately.
He said MDAs have no powers to tinker with the budget, adding that only the National Assembly is statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider and pass budgets.
He said, there were reports that following the downward review of the budget from N10.59 trillion to N10.52 trillion due to the COVID-19 crisis and the dwindling oil prices, some MDA’s were allegedly adjusting the budget proposal to suit their needs.
“I want to warn that no other arm or department of government has any power over budget except the legislature, which is the National Assembly. It is only the National Assembly that can review the budget and we have begun the process,” he said.
According to him, the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provision vested on the National Assembly the power to amend the Appropriations bill.
“Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly. Therefore, we shall not shirk in our responsibilities and we will also not hesitate to wield the big stick on whoever goes beyond his brief to tamper with the budget,” he said.
BY HANYTA OGBE