Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, on Tuesday slammed the Federal Government for starving capital projects of funds.
Evidently, the official was angry, saying
“You don’t save money when you are hungry.”
He specifically mentioned the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office as the agencies of government denying capital projects of funding.
His anger also exposed the depth of the raging budget row between the House in particular and President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to Tambuwal, it is hard for people to save money when they are hungry. Thus he referred to the failure of the National Assembly and Jonathan to agree on the oil benchmark for the 2014 budget.
Tambuwal said, “We are still dragging with the executive arm of government on the issue of oil benchmark, because we said we needed more money to fund infrastructure development.
“Somebody somewhere is saying that we should be saving money, saving money on an empty stomach? How do you save money when you are hungry?”
He accused Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance of their failure to support the capital projects.
“We are hungry for health care, road infrastructure, rail lines, power and education and somebody somewhere is saying we should save money; for what and for whom?”
Jonathan had proposed a crude oil benchmark of $74 for the 2014 budget in the 2014-2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework but while considering the MTEF, the Senate approved $76.5 and the House went for $79.
The Presidency is said to be comfortable with the Senate position on the benchmark as it is closer to Jonathan’s original $74.
However, the House had argued in support of more funding for capital projects.
A conference committee appointed by the Senate and the House to harmonise the figures adjourned indefinitely last week after a series of meetings failed to resolve the issue.
Source: Punch Nigeria