Reps chide environment minister for alleged failing to forward documents ahead of budget defence
• CSOs seek speedy passage of appropriation bill
The House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat at the weekend turned back the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed for allegedly breaching legislative procedure.
The procedure required that government agencies forward their documentary evidences days ahead before appearing at the House to defend their budget estimates.
Although the guidelines of the lower legislative chamber did not specify how long the documents should get to lawmakers before their consideration, Chairman, House Committee on Environment and Habitat, Obinna Chidoka told the minister that written evidences should not be forwarded to lawmakers few hours before agency officials were expected to appear.
The ministry’s documentary presentation of 107 pages on 2016 and 2017 budget details, dated 3rd February, 2017, was just being circulated to the committee members as the ministry officials arrived to defend the figures.
Before turning back Mrs. Mohammed, the committee chairman told the minister and members of her team that the decision of the committee to suspend the scrutiny of their budget proposal was “germane, cogent and verifiable.”
Meanwhile, representatives of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have demanded early passage and implementation of the Federal Government and states 2017 budgets.
In a statement by the Executive Director of the Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR), Emeka Ononamadu and 25 others and made available to The Guardian at the weekend in Owerri, the rights activist said that the process should be “participatory, inclusive and transparent’ for the documents to have desired effect and impact on Nigerians, noting that the alleged scandal the 2016 budget had should not repeat it
The statement stated: ‘’civil society organisations working with the US. Agency for International Development and Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement Project (USAID/SACE) project in Nigeria met for five days and deliberated on the 2017 draft budget process of the Federal Government and some states in relation to current national challenges.
“After the deliberations, the following observations were made: ‘That in its structure and content, the 2017 draft federal budget process is not a clear departure of Nigeria’s from past budgeting style and thus may not likely address the key challenges of our economy,” the statement said.