From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
There may have been cracks in the chummy relationship between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the zero allocation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the 2013 budget. On December 20 last year, the National Assembly passed a N4.987 trillion budget with no allocation to the SEC over its running battle with the House.
Less than a month after he signed the budget into law, President Goodluck Jonathan returned the document to the federal legislature for amendment. The president asked the lawmakers to amend Clause 10 of the new budget “considering the fact that the budget of the SEC does not form part of the core 2013 federal budget as presented to the National Assembly.
I believe that this clause ought not to have been inserted in the 2013 Appropriation Act in the first place.” Speaking yesterday, Senate spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, told journalists that the Upper Legislative Chamber, having received the President’s request, would definitely “revisit” the matter. “There has been no discussion yet on the floor of the Senate concerning this matter and when there is a discussion, then we will get what the Senate position will be.
What happened was that there was a conference committee set up by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the 2013 Appropriation Bill and the result of the Conference Committee is what is in the 2013 budget. “Of course, Mr. President indicated in the letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives that there are certain aspects of the 2013 budget which are already signed into law that he wants us to revisit and definitely, we are going to revisit those aspects.
That is the process of give-and-take within government.” On the proposal to grant amnesty to Boko Haram members, Abaribe said the nation’s Upper Legislative organ was on the same page with the President, adding that Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, should learn to use temperate language when referring to senators.
“I think the Senate’s position has always been constant and consistent which is that the Senate has been consistently supportive of the Federal Government, the Presidency in finding a way of dealing with the issues of terrorism and wanton acts of violence in the northern part of our country.
“As for the comments that were made by the governor of Kano State, we think people in very high offices should use temperate language, especially (at) this time when there is a lot of tension in the country and we expect that in keeping with everybody’s high office, he will also act in the same manner.”