The well publicised disagreement over some clauses in the 2013 appropriation bill between President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly linger on at the risk of paralysing the economy Buffeted by criticism from the opposition and a growing anger by the public over perceived slow pace of his administration.
The year 2013 offers what may well be the last chance of President Goodluck Jonathan to market himself as a man ready to implement his much vaunted Transformation Agenda.
But the budget, a key instrument with which his many projects can be executed, is suffering what some critics have described as “suspended animation.” The National Assembly, NASS, passed the budget in December last year but the President is yet to accent to the appropriation bill.
As gathered last week, the appropriation bill is at the Budget Office with “notations and markings,” say sources, which point to differences between the President and the lawmakers. The magazine learnt that President Jonathan has withheld assent to the budget because the NASS marked up the budget by N63 billion. Apart from that, the President was piqued that the lawmakers increased the oil price benchmark from $75 to $79.
There was also the contentious issue of zero allocation to the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, purportedly over the House of Representative’s differences with Arunma Oteh, the commission’s director-general, DG. Feelers at the ministry of finance last week indicated that feedbacks from the various ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, of government rejected outright the manner in which the NASS tinkered with the budget.
“It looked more like lawmakers want to make nonsense of all the projections made by the President and his economic team,” added a source at the ministry.