Lagos lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has faulted the National Assembly for inserting new projects into the 2017 Budget.

Falana in an interview on Channels TV said the Executive should get the Supreme Court to settle the matter once and for all.

He said: “We have been on this game since 1999. This is about the fourth president. Every year, we have this controversy. It is totally uncalled for over the power of the National Assembly to tinker with the budget…We have advised the government to put this matter to rest by approaching the Supreme Court. The precious time of the nation has been wasted over who has the right to the project. In 2014, I went to court… The court agreed that it is the duty of the president to prepare the budget, while the national Assembly , even though not a rubber stamp, shall inform input into the budget. But that does not mean, according to the judgment, that it can be substituted with another by the National Assembly.

“The constitution says the ‘President shall cause to be prepared’. What does preparation mean? It means the Ministry of Budget, the Ministry of Finance and all the relevant agencies of government will prepare the budget and collate the figure…the Presidency would have done some feasibility studies. If that is presented to the National Assembly, it has the right to say ‘a similar secretariat was built in Ghana at a lower cost’. But you cannot say it will cost N205b without any Bill of quantity…You cannot singlehandedly introduce new projects. Who is going to fund it?”

Femi Falana

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