OrderPaperToday – Newly sworn-in Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has promised that the National Assembly under his leadership would ensure the passage of the national budget within three months of its submission by the President.
Lawan who made the pledge while speaking to State House correspondents after performing Friday’s Juma’at prayer alongside President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Mosque, also urged the Executive to ensure early submission.
According to him, “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
Speaking further the Senate President warned that heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) will only have one moth to defend their budget.
He said: “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.
“After that for example, every minister or head of agency who did not come to defend the budget of that institution, the National Assembly would go ahead to work on such a budget appropriately.’’
It would be recalled that the Executive led by President Muhammadu Buhari often blamed the leadership of the 8th National Assembly for late budget passage, while the presiding officers, former Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Speaker Yakubu Dogara accused the Executive of late budget submissions and non-appearance of head of MDAs to defend their budgets.