Biodun Olujimi, senate minority leader, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of unjustly blaming the national assembly over the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.
The senator said contrary to Buhari’s claim that the lawmakers delayed the passage, what the executive usually sends to the legislative chamber is “window dressing documents”.
Buhari presented the budget to the national assembly in November 2017 but it was not passed until June 2018.
“If the national assembly takes seven months to pass a budget, then we should be commended for the much that we have achieved, and can still achieve,” Buhari had said at a recent event in Abuja.
Reacting via a statement issued on Sunday, Olujimi accused the presidency of “playing politics” with an issue “as sensitive as the budget process”.
“The executive arm needs to further interrogate the efficiency of those involved in budget preparation so that it can realise that one of the causes of delays in budget passage is how the budget estimates submitted to the legislature come without the necessary details and accompanying documents,” she said.
“What was usually laid before the parliament was mere window dressing documents for the purpose of the presentation ceremony and the photo opportunities.
“There were also past instances like in the case of the 2016 budget when after the budget proposal was submitted with fanfare, the executive attempted to surreptitiously change what was submitted, thereby leading to allegation of ‘missing budget’ in the media.
“All these developments will necessarily lead to delay in the passage of the budget. The national assembly, in the spirit of co-operation, decided to keep quiet and demonstrated understanding with the executive.
“Yet, in order to undermine the legislature and incite the people against the institution, the executive will often go to the public to talk ill of the legislature and blame us for its own failure.”