Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are to appear before Committees of the Senate in October to defend their 2020 budget, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has said.
Lawan stated this at the presentation of the budget by President Muhammadu Buhari during a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He said for timely passage of the budget, all MDAs were expected to appear before the committees for the defence within the month of October.
Lawan said that the national assembly committees were ready to receive ministers and other heads of agencies for the budget defence of various MDAs within the month.
“We have earmarked the month of October to be the sole window for all budget defence activities in this year by all MDAs.
“Our committees will be expected to conclude their work on budget defence within October 2019.
“The subsequent necessary legislative work will be carried out in November and December leading to eventual passage before Dec.31,” he said.
Lawan said that the presentation of the budget marked another day of exercising the constitutional obligations and mandates by both the Legislature and the Executive as provided for in Section 81 of the 1999 Constitution.
“This function being the first in the 9th the National Assembly, makes it even more significant as both the Legislature and the Executive have demonstrated readiness and commitment to work together in order to pass the 2020 budget in a good and desirable time.
“Clearly, this effort is to enable the Federal Government provide those laudable objectives of physical infrastructure and socio-economic services to our citizens,” he said.
He further said that the public and the private sectors needed a reliable budget cycle that was predictable and reliable for planning and execution of fiscal and financial policies and programmes.
“It is therefore, necessary that the present cycle is changed to January-December.
“In this regard, the national assembly and the executive must work together to ensure the realisation of the important objective,” he said.
Lawan said that the national assembly after the receipt of the budget would swing into action to start work immediately.
“Both chambers of the national assembly have constituted their committees, we are therefore, ready to start processing the budget,” he said.
The president of senate said that the 9th national assembly had shown capacity, commitment and willingness to treat legislative matters that would impact on the lives of citizens with dispatch and every sense of urgency.
He said that this was clearly demonstrated last week, when the national assembly received, processed and passed the request of the president on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
“The national assembly will treat the 2020 budget with the same commitment or even more.
“In our effort to pass the budget, we will also be guided by the legislative requirement of a thorough scrutiny,” Lawan said.