SENATE Leader Ahmed Lawan says the Senate will conclude legislative work on the 2017 Appropriation Bill next week and pass it to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
He said this while addressing State House correspondents on Thursday in Abuja after he paid a visit to Buhari.
Lawan said that the National Assembly had intended to pass the Bill in March but could not, adding that the recent delay was caused by the raid on the house of its Appropriation Committee Chairman, Sen. Danjuma Goje, by the police.
“The good news is that we are doing everything possible to catch up the lost time and that by the grace of God I am thinking that by next week we should be able to finish our own work and pass the budget for Mr President to sign.”
The senate leader added that having failed to pass it in March due to some parameters the Senate did not have control over; it was Senate desire to pass it in April but for the incident in Goje’s house after a whistle blower gave information. He said that when the raid took place it was reported that part of the appropriation bill papers were included in what the police collected from the residence.
He noted that the trauma felt by Goje affected the process of budgeting that the Senate had tried to observe. He explained that when the National Assembly went on the Easter recess the Senate and House committees on appropriation stayed back to work on the bill to enable them lay the reports on the budget on April 25.
“That was not possible because of what happened,’’ he said. Lawan also confirmed that the senate would screen the two ministerial nominees from Kogi and Adamawa as well as others who require confirmation by next week. On his visit to the president, he said that it was to get the right executive briefings as part of his responsibility to market all executive bills’ request.
“I have come to meet Mr President as part of my continuous engagement with the executive to ensure that I get my briefings right so that I can always market Presidential and executive requests so well and so effectively. This is supposed to be a continuous process, and that is essentially why I have come to see Mr President.”
He said that in a democracy such as ours lobbying was expensive and given narrow definitions, but added that there was the need for continuous engagement and sustained interaction between the executive and legislative arms. He said such interaction should be maintained in the country in spite of the independence of the three arms of government.
“I know clearly that there is independence of each arm and I know also know equally well that there is so much interdependence between the two arms or even the three arms of government in Nigeria. Therefore, we need to always close and narrow the gap,’’ the senate leader said. – Vanguard