By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday expressed confidence in chairmen of the various committees in the ongoing budget defence process.
This was just as he disclosed that the budget defence done in closed sessions was due to security implications.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this on Wednesday when visited the various committees during their 2020 budget defence with Ministries Departments and Agencies.
Responding to a question from newsmen on why some committees chooses to do their budget defence in a closed door, said that it could be due to reasons which can be related to security or absolutely necessary for the country’s interest.
“I have absolute confidence in the chairmen of the committees. They were carefully selected based on their background their experiences, their knowledge their passion. If you see things certainly like you have expressed there would be reasons.
“Budget process is an open thing. It is transparent there is accountability but if there are one or two areas where the committees had closed door meeting or private meetings there might be implications. I don’t know. It might be security implications, I have not got that brief. It could be security implication; it could be things that are necessary for the cohesion of the process itself and for the country.
“As far as I am concerned, if out of 100 committees, so to speak, you find that in one or two committees, I can bet you that there is a reason for it. I don’t want to preempt. I have not spoken to the chairmen, baut it is information I will take and I will talk with the chairman, why the meeting was in closed door, and we will take it up from there.
“But in all, we have had a great outing. We are trying to beat the deadline, without sacrificing the thoroughness of the budget defence. We can do both at the same time. We can get back to the January -December cycle, and at the same time have a thorough comprehensive budget defence process. That is what is going on.
“I am going round, because I want to be part of the process. I am a legislator before I became Speaker. The speaker going round is part of the legislative duties.
If you have been refused not to cover one or two committees, I will like to know why. It is a genuine question. But I also believe there is a genuine answer to that. Until I talk to one or two chairmen involved before I can give an informed answer.
“We just finished a public hearing now, between the House and the Senate, we just had a joint hearing which cuts across all the sectors; that was transparent. But we will look into it.