The Chairman of the National Assembly, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, said that the assembly would ensure the passage of the 2020 Appropriation Bill of N10.33 trillion in December.
Lawan who is also the President of the Senate said this at the two-day Joint National Budget Hearing on the 2020 Appropriation Bill in the National Assembly Complex on Wednesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Oct. 8, presented the budget proposal to a joint session of the national assembly with a call on the legislators to change the present budget cycle to January-December.
“We have set between the two chambers; and we have resolved that this time around, we must pass this budget before the end of Dec.
” We are hopeful that the budget will be passed before we go on Christmas break by God’s grace.
” And of course, I am glad to say that President Buhari had shown commitment to what the national assembly desires.
“This was seen when the government issued a statement asking ministers and heads of agencies not to travel without defending their budget; that is a total commitment to what we desire in the national assembly,” Lawan said.
He said that the public hearing on the 2020 appropriation was no doubt a special one because it was another important step in a bid to resolve the undesirable budget cycle.
“This cycle has created problems for planning and for the proper implementation of the nation’s macro-economic framework.
“The macro economic framework needs to be reasonably predictable the way it happens in other climes.
“It is when the framework is predictable that it can positively influence the micro details in the budget proposal.”
He said that the 9th National Assembly was committed to correcting the anomaly in budget cycle.
“We are assured that it is only a wholesome commitment to these mandates that can give us the much needed growth and development,” Lawan said.
The president of the senate said that budget was critical to economic development and it was even more so for a nation like Nigeria where the economy needed continues stimulation.
“The importance of the Budget proposal in national development cannot therefore be overemphasised. This is the reason why inputs have to be all inclusive as we are now set to do.
“We understand that the budget proposal is about fiscal targets, resource allocation, public expenditure policy, productivity and efficiency.
“We also understand that the process is one of passage, mobilisation and execution.”
He further said that the lawmakers were determined to ensure that when the budget was passed, it would be properly implemented.
In his remark, Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called on stakeholders to critically examine the document before the legislature exercised its full authority as provided for by the Constitution.
Gbajabiamila said that the budget of any country represented the blueprint of the direction its economy was going to take adding that it was the basis upon which everything else was built.
He said that the outcome of the hearing should reflect the true federal character of Nigeria.
“No lopsidedness; everybody has a part of what is the national cake. We are all stakeholders,” he said.
Earlier, Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation Jibril Barau said that the event was to allow the public to be part of the 2020 appropriation process.
He commended the President of the Senate for his uncommon determination exhibited to see to the restoration of the budget cycle of the country to begin from Jan. and end in Dec. of every year.
Barau said that the new cycle would assist the government and the private sector to properly plan their yearly activities and make more reliable predictions.
“We request that this gathering should make inputs that will assist the national assembly to work to achieve its targets for the passage of 2020 appropriation bill in the first week of Dec. 2019.”