Tambuwal’s Speech Dictatorial Says Presidency
Presidency yesterday described the Speech of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal, during the presentation of the 2013 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly as dictatorial.
Not only did the Presidency describe the speaker's Speech as mere grandstanding,
but also frowned at the decision of the National Assembly to insist that the 2013 Appropriation Bill be based on $80 per barrel instead of the $75.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr.
Doyin Okupe, said the decision of the National Assembly to overrule the President and insist on $80 instead of $75 per barrel, on which the budget was predicated, was most Dictatorial and over-authoritative.
According to him, "The decision not to release funds to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) was based on due process. The era of releasing funds to be squandered has passed, that era of Father Christmas in releasing funds without due process has gone.
"The projection of the budget on $75 was to address the increasing question of budget deficit. The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) was no bottleneck to release of capital votes, it was aimed at checking contract inflation and over-invoicing and, therefore, national revenue should not be squandered on the altar of speedy release of funds. The process of releasing funds to MDAS will not be abridged."
Comparing the 2013 budget benchmark with other countries, Okupe explained that the aim of pegging the 2013 budget on $75 was to avert the dangers of crash in the global price of crude oil.
He cited instances where in 2008 the budget benchmark of $147 crashed to $38, insisting that that was one of the reasons why the federal government insisted on caution.
Okupe also explained that the 2013 Algerian budget was benchmarked at $37, Qatar $57, Venezuela $50, Saudi Arabia $50, Angola $77, Kuwait $66, adding that the pegging of Nigeria's budget bill was based on actual market realities.
On the release of budget, Okupe said that so far over 53 percent of the 2012 budget have been released, which he said represents about N711.6 billion, explaining that it should be noted that the 2012 budget was passed in April this year.
The Senior Special Assistant said that Jonathan expects the federal lawmakers to do extensive legislative work on the appropriation bill, even as he accepted that the 2013 budget was meant to be rubber-stamped by the National Assembly as the Senate President, David Mark, said.
Addressing the call to sack the Director General of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, Okupe said it was unfair for the House of Representatives to call for her sack because the allegations against her were duly investigated by a reputable firm of Price Water that found her not guilty.
"Why must she be sacked? It is absurd to say that she is not qualified to head SEC, as she has held various positions in the financial sector before her appointment," he said.
On the issue of Bakassi, Okupe said Nigeria did not appeal the verdict of the International Court of Justice on Bakassi because there was nothing new on the matter.
"The President listened to the resolution of the National Assembly that Nigeria should appeal the ruling of the International Court of Justice, but there was nothing new to appeal on Bakassi.
"There is no need for unnecessary grandstanding and playing to the gallery. The President has accepted the comments of the Speaker of the House of Representatives as burden of leadership and with equanimity of mind," Okupe said.
Meanwhile, Tambuwal has described Okupe's press conference as the handiwork of an overzealous and ignorant aide.
The speaker's reaction, which was contained in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Malam Imam Imam, said: "The attention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has been drawn to a press conference addressed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, where he made disparaging remarks about the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly with regards to the remarks of Senate President David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the presentation of the 2013 budget.
"The Speaker wishes to state that the remarks of the two leaders were in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and that all statements by the two leaders were backed by facts and figures from field studies by the legislators and expert advice.
"It is apparent that Okupe is dabbling into areas where he is totally ignorant about.
"The uncouth manner in which he replied elected representatives showed his apparent lack of respect to the legislature as an institution.
"The entire remarks he made gave him out as an overzealous official doing a hatchet job in order to be relevant in the scheme of things."
Tambuwal’s Speech Dictatorial Says Presidency
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