Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has warned Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government against unauthorised and non-budgetary spending.
Gbajabiamila gave the warning while welcoming members from their annual recess on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, early in the life of the 9th House of Representatives, members promised to return to a regular budget cycle, running from January through to December.
He said the house had kept to the promise in its first year and also setting a standard from which it must not deviate.
He, however said there was an ongoing problem of MDAs failing to implement projects and programmes for which funds have been provided in the budget.
“It bears restating that the Appropriation Act is not merely a policy document or a statement of intent, it is the law of the land that binds us all. Any expenditure of public funds outside of the Appropriation Act is a crime, and a failure to implement programmes and projects for which funds have been allocated and provided”.
He said it amounted to a betrayal of public trust that undermined faith in the government and frustrates good faith efforts at national development.
He said the house would take action against those who fail in their responsibilities in this regard, saying, I sincerely hope it does not come to that.
The speaker urged members of the house of representatives to work together as they resumed sitting, adding that this would make it possible to achieve a prosperous nation.
According to him, the success or failure of the 9th house of representatives would not be the result of the actions of any individual, we are in this together, let us continue to work in unity.
He said bills presented would first be served, adding that such bill must also aligned with the agenda of the house.
The speaker said the house would consider the Petroleum Industry Bill before it, and ensure it succeeded this time in pushing the bill through.
The speaker read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari for the transmission of Petroleum Industry Bill 2020.
The bill, according to the speaker combined aspect of significant reforms in the Petroleum Industry Bill, while the President urged the house to consider its passage into law.
Gbajabiamila, however stated that in the course of the recess, the house embarked on some reforms in the chamber, adding that for the first time, the house would be sitting in a digitalised chamber.
“I am to announce that for the first time in our history, the House of Representatives will sit in an entirely digitised chamber.
He said this would enable the proceedings of the House, including records of votes to be taken appropriately in real-time and archived for all history.
He further said that the leadership of the house engaged the labour union in a bid to avert the looming strike that was suspended on Sunday over planned reform by the federal government. We recognise that some of these reforms will increase the living costs for many at a time when people are struggling to cover the costs of daily life”.
He added that, the house would work with the executive to develop and implement measures to support people that needed help and ensure that the most vulnerable got through with dignity.