Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has assured Nigerians that the N10.59 trillion 2020 budget recently passed by the National Assembly would be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari in the next few days.
The spokesman of the House, Hon. Ben Kalu, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the weekend in Abuja.
He said that while the legislative arm had passed the budget, it is the work of the National Assembly management to transmit the bill to the president.
Kalu stated: “As I said the last time, we have done our part as regards to the budget. We have passed the bill over to the court of the executive.
“And many have asked me if it has been transmitted? And have answered, it is the work of the management, if there is any final touches that need to be done, I think they are minor.
“We are hopeful that it will be transmitted, if they’re not done that by today, hopefully in the next few days it will be leaving the National Assembly. We are done with it from the House.”
Kalu said he believed that the management would not frustrate the plan to return the country back to January to December budget cycle by transmitting the bill as soon as possible.
According to him, “I don’t think the management will frustrate something that is good, we are on the same page. The National Assembly is sitting on a tripod stand — the Senate, House and the management — that is the tripod stand we are standing on. The two are political offices, one reserved for the bureaucrats and I don’t think that the management will frustrate this noble process that Nigerians wished for.”
Kalu explained that because there is no specific time frame in the constitution for the management to transmit immediately, prompted him to sponsor a bill for the constitutional amendment with regards to Section 58(4) that will enable any bill that has been passed on schedule to be transmitted, after concurrence within seven days and it must be before Mr. President within 30 days.
The House spokesman said that the bill has gone through second reading, while expressing hope that his colleagues would support the amendment of that part of the constitution.
On hate speech bill, he clarified that everything the 9th House professed in the Legislative Agenda is what it intended to achieve, stressing that there was nowhere in the agenda that says that the House would suppress the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
He said the green chamber would rather work hard and make sure it is protected, while assuring Nigerians that the House is not going to gag the press.
Kalu said while there was need for the press to be outspoken, standard should also be applied as a yardstick to ensure efficiency and productivity, not as punishment.