President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan says legislators have the interest of Nigerians at heart and would continue to work hard towards making life better for citizens of the country.
Lawan, who was fielding questions from State House Correspondents soon after the signing of the 2022 appropriation Act and 2021 finance Act by President Buhari, pledged more collaboration with the executive for the benefit of Nigerians.
Senator Lawan also explained that the synergy between the executive and legislative arms of government remains the secret behind the speedy passage of the appropriation bills since the 9th Assembly came on board.
He said: “The driving force is our ability in the National Assembly in the two chambers to work very amicably, and productively.
And then, of course, our ability as a National Assembly, as an institution, to work with the executive arm of government in such a manner that the processing of the budget estimates, as will be laid by President all the time, are done in such a way that every arm of government, participate fully at the appropriate time.
“You will recall that in December 2019, for the budget of 2020, the President directed his Ministers and Chief Executive Officers of MDAs not to travel at all until they defended their budgets.
And that, of course, helped us a lot in the National Assembly.
“So, the secret is cooperation, partnership, synergy, and that understanding and mutual respect.
And of course, Nigeria is benefiting from that kind of relationship.
So, that is what in my judgement and opinion works for us, to be passing the budget at the time that will always feel is the appropriate time before the end of the year.
Lawan used the occasion to congratulate President Buhari for achieving the January to December budget cycle.
“Of course, Mr.
President, congratulations to him for signing the 2022 appropriation bill today, even though today is the last day of the year.
But we have achieved that very significant important date of signing before the end of the year.
“And let me also add here, that, the reality is what I have observed, the ability of the federal government to have his budget passed and signed before the end of the year, has made so many states to also work towards achieving that.
And by today, you would have noticed that more than half of our states would have signed the budget 2022.
And that is the kind of leadership that the federal government is giving to the sub nationals,” he said.
Commenting on the President’s reservations on some of the adjustments made by the National Assembly, Lawan said:
“Well, I think the most important thing is, Mr.
President is happy with the majority of what the National Assembly has done and that is the most critical thing that we need to focus on.
“As for the observations Mr.
President has raised, this is a natural and logical tendency between the executive and the legislature, sometimes our views on certain issues may not be necessarily the same kind of views that the executive will have and hold on any particular matter.
So I don’t think what the President did, by raising some observations as something that we should worry about.
“I’m happy that the President signed the budget in the first place.
And he said, it’s going back to the National Assembly to seek amendments and this is a natural, logical, legislative process.
So I’m happy that we have done our own part in our own way.
“This is based on judgments when we asked for more resources coming from the independent sources, especially from the government owned enterprises of about N400 to N500 billion because we believe that these government owned enterprises should contribute even much more.
In fact, I hold the opinion that they should have contributed about a trillion, at least not N500 billion or so.
So I believe that the National Assembly was right in its judgement, but there is nothing wrong in the executive arm of government coming back to the National Assembly to see how we’re able to dialogue and go through the process and see where the misunderstanding is.
But I don’t think that is supposed to be a worrisome development for us.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who also spoke to Journalists, said he was happy that the country’s budgets keep improving.
He assured Nigerians that the legislators would work even faster on the 2023 budget because of its significance.
He said: “Every year’s budget is an improvement on the last one.
So the transition budget which Mr.
President spoke about as you heard him earlier, they are even going to bring it earlier in 2023, which gives us ample time, more time to work on it, improve on it, and make it a seamless budget with a seamless execution and implementation.
“I don’t think I have a problem with the 2023 budget.
2023 budget is going to come and we are going to work on it just like we have been working on the budgets.
Well, we are on vacation now and when we come back on the 18th of January will know what’s next.
We will make life better for Nigerians – Senate President