Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, has accused the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, of frustrating moves by the Senate to discuss the 2019 Appropriation Bill submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last December.
Ndume, representing Borno South, spoke with journalists after plenary Wednesday.
He declared that the delay by the Senate to commence debate on general principles of the N8.83trillion 2019 budget proposals five weeks after presentation by President Buhari was caused by the leadership of the Senate headed by PDP senators.
He stated that as far as federal lawmakers belonging to the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC) are concerned , the budget proposals can be attended to within a week and passed but the Senate headed by lawmakers on the platform of the PDP, seems not to be interested in the consideration of the budget proposals.
“Though federal lawmakers on the platform of APC are more in number than their counterparts in PDP but since it is the PDP lawmakers that are controlling the leadership of both chambers , the speed at which any executive bill, particularly the 2019 Appropriation Bill before us now will take , lies with them.
“Those of us in the APC in both chambers have the passion and the will to effect expeditious consideration and passage of the 2019 budget proposals but the required speed for that lies with the leadership, topmost of whom are PDP members,” he said .
When reminded that the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan ( Yobe North) who was supposed to move for commencement of debate on general principles of the budget or his Deputy , Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah ( Kebbi South), was not around on Tuesday and yesterday , he said the required move and speed for such legislative exercise lie with the two presiding officers and principal officers.
He, however, commended the House of Representatives for kick starting debate on general principles of the budget yesterday which he said will propel such legislative business in the Senate very soon.
According to him, the required expeditious consideration that should be given the 2019 Appropriation bill, should be extended to the expected minimum wage bill.