President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all Ministries, departments and Agencies that have not appeared before the National Assembly to defend their 2018 budget to immediately do so, to enhance the speedy passage of the appropriation bill.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha revealed this to Journalists after a meeting between the President and the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday night at the State House, Abuja.
“The President has given instructions that all Ministers and Heads of Parastatals should ensure that they appear before the National Assembly to defend their submissions so that we can get this out of the way,” he said.
Mustapha said the meeting was very fruitful and it will help maintain a harmonious relationship between the Executive ands Legislative arms of government.
“It was basically an in-house meeting between the Executive and the Legislature because we want to continue building a very harmonious working relationship between us. The President gave them an update on what he is doing about the economy, security and job creation. Nigerians will notice that in the past one week the President has visited three or four state, all in a bid to builds confidence back into the hearts of the people of this country. We also discussed the processes in the National Assembly, especially with regards to the budget and the need to speedily conclude work on that. This is a very dynamic year, there are preparations for elections and we are having quite a number of challenges so if we do not appropriate where will the money come from?” he said.
Also speaking, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki said the National Assembly is working assiduously on the 2018 appropriation bill and hopefully it will be passed soon.
“We are working on it and as we said before in the Senate, that there are still submissions that have not been done and some agencies have not come to defend their budget and all that but we are hoping that things will speed up now,” Saraki stated.
He said the meeting was a fruitful one that will further cement the relationship between the two arms of government.
He said: “It was a good meeting, just an interaction between the Executive and the Legislature, the talk covered all general issues; security, budget, and so on. We contributed and made observations that we had. It was very useful. We gave our views on issues and then they also sought clarifications on some areas, So both of us were well informed on all the issues.”
Present at the meeting were the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Principal Officers of both the Senate and House of Representatives.