Ahmad Lawan, the President of the Nigerian Senate, says legislators have Nigerians’ best interests at heart and will continue to work hard to improve the country’s citizens’ lives.
Lawan promised more collaboration with the executive for the benefit of Nigerians while fielding questions from State House Correspondents shortly after President Buhari signed the 2022 appropriation Act and the 2021 finance Act.
Senator Lawan also stated that the secret to the quick passage of appropriation bills since the 9th Assembly took office is the synergy between the executive and legislative branches of government.
“Our ability in the National Assembly in the two chambers to work very amicably and productively is the driving force,” he said. Then there’s our ability as a National Assembly, as an institution, to work with the executive branch of government in such a way that the budget estimates, which will be laid out by the President at any time, are processed in such a way that every branch of government participates fully and at the appropriate time.
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“You may recall that the President directed his Ministers and Chief Executive Officers of MDAs not to travel at all until they defended their budgets in December 2019 for the 2020 budget.” That, of course, was extremely beneficial to us in the National Assembly.
“So, the secret is cooperation, partnership, synergy, and mutual respect,” says the author. Nigeria, of course, benefits from this type of relationship. So, in my opinion, passing the budget at the time that is always felt to be the appropriate time before the end of the year is what works for us.”
Lawan took the opportunity to congratulate President Buhari on successfully completing the January-December budget cycle.
“Of course, Mr. President, I congratulate him on signing the appropriation bill for 2022 today, despite the fact that it is the last day of the year.” However, we have signed before the end of the year, which is a huge accomplishment.
“And let me also add here that, based on what I’ve seen, the federal government’s ability to get its budget passed and signed before the end of the year has prompted many states to work toward the same goal.” By now, you’ve probably noticed that more than half of our states have signed the budget for the year 2022. And that’s the kind of leadership the federal government is providing to the subnationals,” he explained.
Lawan responded to the President’s reservations about some of the National Assembly’s changes by saying:
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“Well, I think the most important thing is that Mr. President is pleased with the majority of what the National Assembly has accomplished, and that is the most important thing for us to concentrate on.”
“As for Mr. President’s observations, this is a natural and logical tendency between the executive and the legislature; sometimes our views on certain issues are not necessarily the same as the executive’s. So I don’t think the President’s remarks, while interesting, are something we should be concerned about.
“I’m glad the President approved the budget in the first place. And he explained that it will be returned to the National Assembly for amendments, which is a natural, logical legislative process. So I’m glad we each did our part in our own unique way.
“This is based on our judgments when we asked for more resources from independent sources, particularly from government-owned enterprises, in the range of N400 to N500 billion, because we believe they should contribute even more.” In fact, I believe they should have contributed around a trillion dollars, not just N500 billion. So, while I believe the National Assembly made the correct decision, there is nothing wrong with the executive branch of government returning to the National Assembly to see how we can dialogue and work through the process to determine where the misunderstandings are. But I don’t believe that’s supposed to be a cause for concern for us.”
Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, told Journalists that he is pleased that the country’s budgets are improving.
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Because of the importance of the 2023 budget, he assured Nigerians that legislators would work even faster on it.
“Every year’s budget is an improvement over the previous one,” he said. So the transition budget that Mr. President mentioned earlier will be presented in 2023, giving us plenty of time to work on it, improve it, and make it a seamless budget with seamless execution and implementation.
“I don’t believe I have a problem with the budget for 2023.” The budget for 2023 will be released, and we will work on it in the same way that we have worked on previous budgets. So, we’re on vacation right now, and when we return on January 18th, we’ll know what’s next. Thank you very much.”