President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has said that henceforth the National Assembly would ensure the passage of the nation’s appropriation bill within three months of its submission by the executive arm of government.
Lawan stated this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after joining President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the weekly Friday’s Juma’at prayer at the Aso Rock Mosque, Abuja.
He, however, expressed the hope that the executive would always ensure early submission of the budget to enable the assembly deliberate and pass it in good time.
“Well, this is a crucial thing that worries everyone. Every Nigerian wants to see the National Assembly pass the budget in good time and it’s something both of us in the National Assembly have bought into – that we’ll pass the budget within three months by the grace of God.
“But I want to say here that it takes two sides of government to pass the budget in good time. I’m sure that the executive side of the government would like to present the budget before the National Assembly in good time – in September or early October.
“By the grace of God, we in the National Assembly will ensure that we carry out the budget defence and do the remaining parts of the processes. Before we leave for Christmas break, the budget would have been passed and Mr President would have the budget before him to assent,’’ he said.
The Senate President, therefore, called for sacrifice on the part of NASS and the executive so as to create “a window for budget defence only, a dedicated period and timeframe, say a month of which only budget defence will be carried out in the national assembly.
“It is our desire in the National Assembly that every minister, every chief executive officer of every agency comes to the National Assembly and defend the budget of his agency or her agency before going out of the country.
“That window is going to be available within the one month but that is the only window that is going to be available.
“After that for example, every minister or head of agency who did not come to defend the budget of that institution, the National Assembly would go ahead to work on such a budget appropriately.’’