House of Representatives has said contrary to the impression created by the Presidency, emerging information indicates that the country’s earnings since the beginning of the fiscal year were already in excess of projections in the 2009 budget.
The lingering budget row between the executive and the legislature was re-opened yesterday, with security beefed-up around the National Assembly, following a bomb scare and rumoured threats that Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) was planning to attack the imposing edifice.
The Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation was last week mandated to investigate the facts behind a letter sent to the House by President Umaru Yar’Adua on the budget.
Yar’Adua had informed the House of the challenges the executive was facing in implementation of the 2009 budget and accused the National Assembly of being responsible for most of the constraints in the budget.
Although, the report of the Joint Committee have not been unveiled on the floor of the House, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Honourable Eseme Eyiboh, said there were strong indications yesterday that the House Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation which investigated the allegations have discovered something different.
Yar Adua, in the letter, submitted that the only way out was to review the budget and propose sending a supplementary budget to ameliorate the situation.
At a news conference yesterday, Eyiboh said there were indications that despite the global meltdown, the Niger Delta crisis and crash in non-oil earnings, revenue accruing to the Federal Government has improved far beyond projections in the 2009 Appropriation Act.
He argued that the Federal Government while bemoaning the crash in revenue, had at the same time being involved in the granting of frivolous waivers and concessions to certain business interests in the country and plans to loan money to some countries.
He however, maintained that he would not want to pre-empt the findings of the Joint Committee until the report was debated in plenary.