By Lawrence Olaoye
Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly will be thorough in its scrutiny of the 2018 budget scheduled to be laid before it on Tuesday.
Lawan who spoke to State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said such was necessary to ensure the passage of an implementable budget for the country.
Asked whether the National Assembly was in sync with government determination to reset the nation’s budget cycle to January-December and ensure early consideration and passage, Lawan said “It depends on how it goes.
“You know we are supposed to be working on the same page; working for the same people of Nigeria and we will like to see the National Assembly working in tandem with the executive arm of government.
“You know these things will be determined by what the budget looks like; the estimates presented to us because naturally we always try to do a very thorough job; a very patriotic job to ensure that the budget is implementable; to ensure there is equity there is fairness, justice in the distribution of projects across the country.
“We will like to see that done but we shouldn’t just do that at all costs. We should be looking at the benefits that could accrue from doing that and whether it is possible to just do it at once or maybe reduce the period in two phases or even more.
“The 2017 budget took effect from June this year. If it is possible for us to complete the implementation of the budget in six months from June, so be it. But that also requires that we implement the budget properly because these are projects that are supposed to bring development, relief and succour to Nigerians. If it is not possible we shouldn’t force it on ourselves that we must terminate it.
Regardless of what happens we should look at the potential consequences of completing it in December or whether we need to extend it a little bit more into March for example. But these are issues that when we engage between ourselves the executive and the legislature we will be able to sort them out for the benefit of Nigerians.”
Asked whether he was satisfied with the level of 2017 budget implementation so far, the lawmaker said “We are still working to ensure that implementation of the 2017 budget continues. So far it hasn’t been able to be implemented the way we thought it would.
You remember that there are certain things that you don’t just get them to happen at once. Some processes must take place before you finally have projects kicking off. So, I believe between now and when the 2017 budget circle will be completed much would have been done and achieved.