Senate President, Ahmed Lawan said on Tuesdaythat the desire of the ninth Senate and indeed the National Assembly is to havethe budget cycle returned to January to December.
Lawan spoke shortly before the Senate adjourned for atwo-month recess which was initially delayed to allow for the confirmation ofthe 43 nominees of the President for ministerial appointments.
The screening exercise which started last Wednesday wasconcluded on Tuesday with the confirmation of all the 43 nominees.
Lawan, who explained that the expectation of thelawmakers is that the 2020 appropriation bill will be presented to the NationalAssembly on their return from the recess in September, also explained that the budgetfor 2020 is part of what the ninth Senate wants to do differently from theprevious sessions of the Senate.
“Once that is done,” the Senate President said, “it is our intention in the entire National Assembly that we devote a month of, possibly, October for budget defence only.”
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He added that if that could be achieved, therewould be no more budget defence after October.
Lawan further warned that the National Assembly will takeappropriate action against any ministry or agency of government that fails toappear to defend its budget “so that we are able to have November and a week ortwo in December to process and pass the budget and send it to Mr. President tosign in December before Christmas.
“We believe that if we are able to do that, ourbudget will go back to that regular cycle, that desirable cycle of January toDecember and that will enhance the budget performance of this country,”the Senate President said, while commending his colleagues for their sense ofpatriotism and commitment to duty in the prompt confirmation of the ministerialnominees.
He said the Senate is prepared to work withthe executive for optimum performance but warned that the ninth Senate will bestiff when it comes to discharging its oversight functions.
“We are going to take our oversight very seriouslybecause we will devote our time here to doing the right thing and we expectthat ministers and heads of government agencies will also do the right thing.
“Nigerians are desirous of going to the next leveland we can only go to that next level when we are able to work together to makeNigerians and Nigeria better in terms of service delivery,” Lawan said.