The Senate on Tuesday amended the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Act to enable the Executive arm of government to implement the N557bn capital expenditure component in the budget till March next year. The amendment was perfected at plenary shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget estimates to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, explained that the essence of the amendment was to allow the executive arm of government to execute some capital projects during the dry season pending the approval of the 2016 Appropriation Bill. Saraki assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would ensure thorough screening of the 2016 budget estimates presented by Buhari.
The Senate president, who stated this shortly before Buhari presented the 2016 Appropriation Bill to the joint session of the National Assembly, also urged the executive to respect the judgement of the lawmakers in the course of their oversight activities. He said:
“We acknowledge that the task of implementing the budget is primarily that of the executive. But our recent experience has shown that even with the best of intentions, too much discretionary powers over budget matters are inimical to accountability.
“It is also true that impunity and corruption thrive best when the democratic safeguards for checks and balances collapse and accountability institutions abdicate their responsibilities. In this regard, the 8th National Assembly intends to discharge its oversight responsibilities fully.”