Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara yesterday urged the executive to foster a good working relationship with the legislature to prevent delay in the passage f the 2018 Budget.
The President requested for the passage of the budget in time to ensure the return to the January to December budget cycle.
Also yesterday, it took about an hour of closed session for the leadership of the national Assembly to persuade some lawmakers from carrying placards in protest over the non- release of funds for the N100 billion Zonal intervention funds by the Executive.
Before the President read his budget speech, Saraki said: “I will like to advise and caution that there is no better time in this Administration than now for a rigorous drive for good working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
“The early passage of the 2018 budget will depend on this good working relationship. The passage of important Executive bills that improve “ease of doing business” is also dependent on this. So, Mr. President, the 469 Members in this chamber are your true partners that will ensure the success of your administration in achieving its goals and objectives. So, lobby them (not the PDP way), close ranks and let them work for you.”
Saraki said while the Federal Government focuses of “big ticket projects” like Power, Rail and A-Trunk roads,” it should also, not forget smaller projects which impact people’s lives..
” We must do both. Those in charge should ensure proper execution or face sanction,” adding that ” it is important that I emphasize that the presentation of the budget should in no way dampen enthusiasm for the implementation of the 2017 Budget.
“Whatever needs to be done to ensure that we achieve close to full implementation of the budget, is what must be done,” the Senate President said.
Dogara said “Once again, let me place it on record that the 2018 Budget preparations suffer from inadequate consultations between the MDAS and various over- sighting Committees of the National Assembly. Consequently, one can only hope and pray that it does not lead to delay in consideration and passage of the Budget.
“The success of this event separates us as true Leaders who in the midst of a hazy Executive – Legislative relationship elected not to turn on ourselves but to turn to each other in the very interest of our constituents and national progress. This is the way we must go as our Constitutional Order is organized in a way that deliberately denies any of the three Arms the strength to go at it alone on any national issue.
“Where that has happened, it’s progress that suffers. That reminds us of the adage that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together”. Examples abound on how fast but not far, the Executive has gone on some national issues where they have decided to go alone. There is no national challenge we cannot overcome if we work together.”
The Speaker, who commended President Buhari for leading the country out of recession, however, said that many Nigerians were still confronted with economic difficulties.
‘‘Although recession has technically ended, most Nigerian families are still struggling.
‘‘As a government, we must do all within our powers to hasten their long night of panic and fear into a glorious morning.
‘‘We must never allow this nation to slide into recession, not now, not ever again.
‘‘We cannot therefore discountenance policy consistency and synergy between all stakeholders, if we must sustain economic growth and development, going forward,’’ he said.