Aminu-Tambuwal1

Teddy Oscar, Abuja

At last, the speaker of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has spoken out on the lingering 2014 Budget crisis which has seen the two chambers of the National Assembly disagree on the oil benchmark, saying that the Ministry of Finance and Budget Office are to be blamed for the continued delay of the 2014 Budget.

The lower chamber of the National Assembly and the Senate are yet to agree on the oil benchmark, which was pegged at $79 per barrel by the House, while the upper chamber pegged it at $76.5 per barrel.

But the speaker who, defended the decision of the House to insist on $79 per barrel, told an audience of the management of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) that one cannot save money on an empty stomach.

He said that the problems hindering infrastructural development in the country has to do with the two important finance offices of the Federal Government.

?We are still dragging with the executive arm of (the) government on the issue of oil benchmark. Why? Because we said we need 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?

?We are not your problems. The National Assembly of Nigeria cannot and is not a problem to any ministry, department or agency (MDA)., if government, in terms of making attempt to support that MDAs for funding. Your main problem is (the) Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance.

?We are hungry for healthcare, road infrastructure, rail lines, power and education and somebody somewhere is saying we should save money for what and for who. We actually need to look at those advises, and whose interest are they saving, is it our own interest or somebody?s else interest?? he said.

Pointing out that this has always been the source of misunderstanding between the executive and the legislature, the speaker added that ?we are the true representatives of the people. We have the mandate of the people to act and speak on behalf of our people. They are appointees, and that is the very big difference from them.?

Earlier in his remark, Engr. Hamman Tukur, chairman, board of directors (PHCN), said that the newly constituted board was in the National Assembly to seek the cooperation of the House in its bid to provide reliable, stable and affordable electricity.

He noted that this can only be obtainable, if only the National Assembly supports the board by providing adequate budgetary allocation to the board.

?If you give us $2 out of the oil returns daily, the power would wake up in the country, and it would work. Our power sector, we cannot pretend in this country, has been in controversy. There is no way Nigeria, with over 150 million people, very vast land and then talk about generating 3,000 megawatt, when part of New York alone (is) using more than that. The oil industries has always been used every where in the world to develop infrastructure and as such Nigeria should not be an exceptional,? he said.

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