Targets December for passage to normalise fiscal cycle
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to lay before the National Assembly the 2020 Appropriation Bill latest by September ending for its passage by December.
He also appealed to the executive arm of government on the need to be on the same page with the legislature to reverse “the undesirable trend of the current budget cycle in Nigeria” and ensure the budget passage before the lawmakers go on Christmas break.
Lawan also said yesterday in Abuja upon his return from pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia that with the recent constitution of relevant committees, the National Assembly was now more prepared to work for Nigerians.
He said: “We need to work for a budget that will be passed by the National Assembly by December. That requires that we work assiduously with the executive arm of government to have the budget laid before the National Assembly by the end of September and for the National Assembly to lock up the whole of October this year for budget defence so that it can be processed and passed before we go on Christmas break. It is doable, it is achievable and attainable.
“I’m sure if we are able to achieve that, Nigeria’s economy will witness a boost. Businesses in Nigeria will have something predictable to work with. I believe that together with the executive arm of government, we should be able to do this, as this is fundamental to us in the National Assembly, and I’m sure the executive arm is also looking forward to that.”
Lawan also said the constitution of legislative committees, which took place before the National Assembly went on its annual recess has places the legislature in a better position to work for Nigerians.
“The Ninth National Assembly has been properly constituted, especially with our committees in place. We are ready, we are willing, we are capable, we are enhanced to work as an institution to ensure that we provide those ingredients and inputs that the executive would want for it to implement laudable projects to develop the country,” he added.
While thanking God for the opportunity to be part of the over 60,000 Nigerians that participated in this year’s Hajj, the Senate president said: “We prayed for our country to achieve optimal security, to have stability, peace and progress.
“We prayed for the National Assembly too. It is our prayer that the Ninth National Assembly will be one to work for Nigerians and for the benefit of those who voted for us.
“Nigerians in Saudi Arabia came together with other Muslims worldwide to pray for global peace. I’m sure that with the message that we heard as part of this year’s pilgrimage and Eid generally, is a message of sacrifice, brotherhood and unity.
“Nigerians should thank God that we are still together as such we should work to ensure that the unity of this country is not compromised,” Lawan said.
He urged Nigerians to continue to pray for their leaders, saying that “leaders are meant to serve the people and no leader would like to deliberately fail to perform.
“Also, in times of challenges like we are going through presently, Nigerians should continue to be behind their leaders with prayers and support, backed by understanding, and by the grace of God, Nigeria will reach those great heights that for long we have prayed for,” he stated.