#BounceExclusive: Ambode, Lawmakers Reach Truce Over 2019 Budget
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the State House of Assembly have reached a truce in the controversy surrounding the state’s 2019 budget.
The agreement was reached after both sides sat down to series of round-table talks, Bounce News gathered.
There has been a ding-dong affair between the governor and members of the assembly over the presentation of the 2019 budget.
The Governor had sent the budget to the assembly on Friday, December 28, 2019 with a letter that said if members had any problem or grey area with the budget they could get in touch with him for clarification.
The assembly responded to the governor's letter on Thursday, January 10, 2019 during its plenary session and told the governor in a plain language that he will need to come to the House to lay the budget before the House before they could consider it.
An aide to Ambode told Bounce News that the governor had agreed to present the budget to the House either on Monday, January 21 or Tuesday, January 22 during the plenary session.
It was gathered that the truce followed series of rapprochement between the governor and the top echelon of the House and party leaders.
Budget presentation before the end of the year had been the tradition in the state.
Ambode had presented the 2018 budget on December 11, 20 days to its commencement.
Lagosians were stunned after close of work on December 31, 2018 without any news on the budget from Ambode; rather, the number one citizen of the state spent the day inaugurating the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and six permanent secretaries.
Following public outcry over the delay of the budget, the state government came out on January 3, saying the state House of Assembly was responsible for the lapse.
It also disclosed that the 2019 budget forwarded to the House was 852.317 billion Naira, a size lesser than 1.04 trillion Naira signed into law for 2018 by 193.683 billion Naira.
The state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Olusegun Banjo, in a statement, stressed that Ambode had taken steps to sustain the tradition on budget presentation, saying, however, that efforts had been punctured by taken lawmakers who claimed they could not form a statutory quorum for the activity to hold.
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Banjo explained that the governor had sent verbal information to present the budget on the eve of Christmas after the State Executive Council approval on December 19, 2018, but the ceremony was postponed as the House was on recess and thereby could not form a quorum.
However, the Assembly described the allegation by the state government as baseless.
The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, said that the House went on break on December 18, 2018 and the first call he received on the budget was on December 24.
This, he said, was on the willingness of the executive to present the budget on December 24, while the lawmakers had proceeded on short break.
According to him, there is no reason to shift the blame on the House that it refused to receive the budget.
"Ambode must be ready to come and perform his constitutional responsibility and we are also ready to receive him,’’ Obasa said.
He said that nobody else could present the budget according to section 121 of the constitution except the governor.
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