The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, on Friday said the 8th National Assembly did not perform to full capacity, a reason the 9th Assembly must work harder to cover what he called “lost ground.”
Lawan was the Senate Majority Leader in the 8th Assembly which had frosty relationship with the executive arm of government.
The Senate President, who spoke with reporters at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, stated that in this dispensation, the legislature would be focused on performing its duties and remaining united.
Lawan joined President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa mosque for Friday prayers.
The lawmaker, who represents Yobe-North Senatorial District, explained, “The expectations from Nigerians is a National Assembly that is very focused, united, patriotic and nationalistic; and that is by the grace of God, the National Assembly that we shall have, He said.
“If there is anyone that is deficient, it will cost the system some setbacks. So, we are going to work very hard, we would like to catch up the lost ground over the last four years. I am sure we did not perform to our capacity as a National Assembly in the last Assembly.
This time round, we want to perform to full capacity and by the grace of God, Nigerians will see a positive difference in terms of delivery of service to our country men and women.”
Lawan also spoke on the delays associated with passing the national budget, saying that the new legislature would reverse the trend.
However, he noted that a speedy passage of the budget was a collaborative effort between the legislature and the executive, adding that a delay by one of the arms would ultimately affect the work of the other.
He added, “We’ll pass the budget within three months by the grace of God.
But, I want to say here that it takes two sides of government to pass the budget in good time, and I am sure that the executive side will like to present the budget before the National Assembly in good time – in September or early October, and by the grace of God, we in the National Assembly will ensure that we carry out the budget defence and do the remaining parts of the processes.
Before we leave for Christmas break, the budget would have been passed and Mr President would have the budget before him to sign.”
He disclosed that the legislature this time would give only one month window to ministers to defend their budget proposals, following which it would be shut.
He added, “After that for example, every minister or head of agency who did not come to defend the budget of that institution, the National Assembly would go ahead to work on such a budget appropriately.”
By Dominic C. Odoh
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