The National Assembly on Friday, warned Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) to make themselves available before October ending, to defend their proposals in the 2020 budget, or risk running without budget after the exercise in October.
Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, who gave the warning in an address at the unveiling of the House of Representatives’ Legislative Agenda, in Abuja, said that there would be no second chance for any defaulter.
Lawan disclosed that the National Assembly was determined to get the budget passed before the year ending.
“I want to say it here clearly, that only the window of October is opened for budget defence. Any Chief Executive that decides to travel and not come to defend his budget will do so at his own risk. There will be no second chance”, he said.
Lawan vowed that they will not allow anyone to hold them ransom and thwart their determination to pass the budget before year ending.
He said pursuant to this determination, the House of Representatives had on Thursday, adjourned plenary till October 29, and that the Senate would do same on Tuesday.
Lawan, who averred that the elections of the 9th Assembly Presiding officers were very transparent, which was responsible for the present peaceful atmosphere at the National Assembly, disclosed that the two chambers were united in will and purpose to leave Nigeria a prosperous nation at the end of the Assembly in 2023.
He said that going forward, the leaderships of the two Chambers will work closely together to make sure that their legislative agenda bring good economy and development to Nigeria and Nigerians.
The Senate President in reiterating their resolve to ensure smooth relationship with the Presidency said that the executive had no problems adopting and working with their legislative agenda, as they were not parallel to the agenda of the executive.
“There is nothing that we want to achieve for Nigeria that is different from what the executive wants to achieve,” he noted.
On his part, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilla, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that as a Parliament, they are determined to see Nigeria change positively and the people enjoy the benefits of democracy.
“Upon resumption of office, I made a commitment to the Nigerian people that the 9th House of Representatives will be a reform assembly; a centre of policy innovation, and agent of transformation in the administration of the affairs of the Nigerian state.
“My commitment to these objectives has not wavered; it is still as certain today as it was on that day, and I assure you that it will remain so. Thankfully, the ideals to which I have so committed are shared by my colleagues in the House, and we are united in our determination to effect lasting, positive change in the lives of our fellow citizens who have sent us here.
“Poverty and inequality, insecurity and strife are the product of policy choices. They are not the result of some inherent flaws in our nature, or a consequence of an absence of God’s favour on our endeavours. We have it in our power to remake our world, to make it better, to say that no child born in this generation will die of a preventable disease or fail to receive an education because his family can’t afford one.
“We are entirely capable of building a society where our daughters and our sons are protected from the perversions of those who will seek to break their spirits and take innocence from them. We are the ones who can build highways that run from the deepest creeks of the delta through the savannahs of the west, to the farthest north so that through trade we might achieve prosperity, and through prosperity, an honourable peace,” the Speaker stated.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Environment, expressed excitement over the new found cooperation that now exist in his administration between the legislature and executive as against what obtained in the past 8th Assembly.
Buhari vowed that he would not mind going extra miles to sustain this relationship and cooperation, assuring the lawmakers of the obedience of all MDAs and their chief executives.