Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, has expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari would not sabotage the restored yearly budget presentation that enables the budget cycle to run from January to December.
Recall that the budget office had announced that the president would lay the budget before the National Assembly in September. The budget is however yet to be presented by the President considering that the month would end next Thursday.
Kalu while briefing journalists in Abuja on the activities of the House as they resumed plenary, noted that for two years, from 2019-2021, since the resumption of the 9th National Assembly, the president did not present the budget late.
He said that the consideration of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) report would be concluded before the presentation of the budget by the president.
He added that Buhari was spot on in meeting yearly budget presentations, which he said helped the National Assembly to achieve the budget calendar from January to December.
He said, “We are confident that it will not be late this time. And if September fails, nothing suggests that it cannot be laid in October. So it is not cast in stone. We cannot rely on the speech from the budget office until we receive a formal letter from the President.”
On the Electoral Bill, he said the lawmakers are aware that certain activities in respect of the general elections based on the Electoral Act ought to have taken place.
He disclosed that they would set up members of the Electoral Conference Committee in line with the Senate to enable the two chambers to achieve concurrence.
This, he said, was for the purpose of fine-tuning the Electoral Bill and members would look at issues to be tidy up in the Electoral Bill such as direct and indirect primaries.
The spokesperson further denied any bad blood with the Senate over delay in giving concurrence on bills passed by the House to the Senate.
Kalu said, “There is no seeming friction, we should stop building mountains out of a molehill. There is no supremacy and no contests. The two Houses know their mandate and how to manage their expectations based on the constitution, let us not import things into the relationship. NASS has one Chairman, which is the President of the Senate and we work in sync toward fulfilling our mandate. The Senate cannot work without us and we cannot work without them.”
On the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) Amendment which the President sought, Kalu said that no piece of legislation was perfect without room for improvement, adding that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) now PIA was not an exception.
He added that the president deserved to be celebrated for not behaving like a general he used to be in the army.