OrderPaperToday – In a bid to ensure a predictable budgeting system in the country, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara on Tuesday, said that it may be necessary to introduce some amendments in the relevant sections of the constitution.‎

He said Section (81) 1 may be amended to read, “The President shall cause to be prepared and laid before each House of the National Assembly not later than ninety days before the end of the financial year, estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Federation for the next following financial year”

In a welcome address to his colleagues, Dogara said the crashing prices of crude oil in the international market and the concomitant impact on the economy should be the realisation that would shape views and decisions as they consider the 2016 budget.

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According to him, submitting a Budget at least 3 months before the end of a financial year is consistent with international best practices and allows the parliament enough time to scrutinise and pass the budget early, before the commencement of a financial year. ‎

“This would do away with the current provision that allows the President to present the Budget at “any time” before the end of the financial year,” he said.

Furthermore, Section 82 of the Constitution may also need to be amended to reduce the period allowed for pre budget expenditure authorisation by Mr President from six months to three months.

“Time has come also to enforce the reporting requirements imposed in the yearly appropriation Bills on the Minister of Finance and various MDAS, “he added.‎

The Speaker noted that the recent monetary and fiscal policies aimed at preventing money laundering and protecting our currency, though well intentioned, have resulted in avoidable hiccups in the country’s international financial transactions.

He said it has had a multi faceted counterproductive implications for both commerce, foreign investor promotion, students and Nigerians in diaspora.

According to him, “this is a matter of urgent national importance requiring all hands on deck. Accordingly, the House Committees on Banking and Currency; Finance; Diaspora and both Basic and Tertiary Education are hereby directed to quickly put their heads together and collaborate with the relevant executive agencies to expeditiously  resolve the prevailing bottlenecks in our Foreign Exchange regime.”

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