By Shola Abayomi.
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has assured that the National Assembly under his leadership will ensure the early passage of the nation’s appropriation bill within three months of its submission by the executive.
Lawan spoke to reporters today, after tagging along with President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the weekly Friday’s Juma’at prayer at the Aso Rock Mosque, Abuja.
The Senate President, however added that the pace of the 9th Senate would be determined by the commitment of the executive in ensuring early submission of the budget to provide ample time for deliberation.
He said, “Well, this is a crucial thing that worries everyone. Every Nigerian wants to see the National Assembly pass the budget in good time and it’s something both of us in the National Assembly have bought into – that we’ll pass the budget within three months by the grace of God.
“But I want to say here that it takes two sides of government to pass the budget in good time.
“I’m sure that the executive side of the government would like to present the budget before the National Assembly in good time – in September or early October.
“By the grace of God, we in the National Assembly will ensure that we carry out the budget defence and do the remaining parts of the processes. Before we leave for Christmas break, the budget would have been passed and Mr President would have the budget before him to assent,’’ Lawan assured.
He urged the executive and members of the National Assembly to create a window dedicated to budget defence alone, where ministers and officers of every agency will appear to defend their respective budgets.
“It is our desire in the National Assembly that every minister, every chief executive officer of every agency comes to the National Assembly and defend the budget of his agency or her agency before going out of the country.
“That window is going to be available within the one month but that is the only window that is going to be available”, he said.