Lawan : Senate to Follow Due Process in Considering 2020 Budget 

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Ahmad Lawan

  Says MTEF, FSP documents already with Senate 

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has declared that the consideration and passage of the 2020  budget by the National Assembly would follow due process and procedures.

Lawan, who spoke with newsmen yesterday evening at his Maitama, Abuja residence shortly after returning from an overseas trip, emphasised that required procedures would be strictly adhered to, in the consideration and passage of the 2020 budget proposals expected to be presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in few weeks.

He, however, stressed that proposals made by the executive arm of government in the recently released 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Work ( MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper ( FSP), would first be considered and passed before receiving the 2020  Budget proposals from President Buhari.

Lawan said it was gratifying that the executive came up with the MTEF/FSP documents earlier than before in paving the way for passage of the 2020 budget before the Christmas break in December .

According to him, the Senate will on resumption from its annual vacation next Tuesday, give the MTEF document expeditious  consideration by passing it to its Committee on Finance for the required legislative inputs.

His words: “I have been informed that the executive has sent the request for the MTF to the National Assembly and I am sure that would be the first that we would do by the grace of God. We hope to take the MTF within the first legislative week by passing it to the Committee on Finance.

“The Committee on Finance would be saddled with that as its first major responsibility in ensuring that it works judiciously the MTF/FSP requests and the Budget will come after that,” he said. Some of the highlights of the 2020-2022 MTEF/FSP documents released by the executive last week, pegged the projected budget profile for the year at N8.7 trillion, $55 oil price bench mark as against $60 used for the N8.9trillion  2019 budget, 2.1million barrel oil production per day as against 2.3 million barrels per day approved for the 2019 budget .

The Senate President added that the 2020  budget proposals when presented, would be expeditiously  considered by both chambers of the National Assembly in ensuring that the budget cycle is returned back to January to December. 

Lawan, also assured Nigerians that the Senate  and the House of Representatives, will collaborate more with the executive in addressing the problem of insecurity in the land .

His words: ”We would do those things that will ensure that the security situation in the country improves and this we will do together with the executive arm of Government as we cannot do it alone. 

“In the Eight Senate we had an ad-hoc committee which reviewed the architecture of security in the country. We are going to look into that report and in addition to looking into other very contemporary issues that affects the security situation of the country.” 

He also stated that the Senate will look into the recent Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.

“We are also going to look into the crisis that affected Nigerians abroad especially in South Africa. Recall that we reviewed this before we went on recess. The Senate felt as an institution,  citizens diplomacy needs to be improved and strengthened. Nigeria needs to be protected wherever they live or choose to go on their legitimate businesses in the world.

“The government must be there for them and I am happy that after the xenophobic crises the federal government of Nigeria was able to take a very definite position but going forward we need to be much more resolute. 

“No matter what the situation is our citizens must be protected but if  someone runs foul of the laws of a country, there are processes and procedures for the defaulters to be prosecuted and so let us try to protect our citizens but also to tell our citizens that wherever they are,  if they chose to visit any country they should stay within the limits of the laws of that country they choose to stay the same thing goes for any foreigner that chooses to come to Nigeria for legitimate business transaction.”