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Senate extends 2015 budget implementation to March 2016

By on December 24, 2015

The Senate on Tuesday amended the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Act to enable the Executive arm of government to implement the N557bn capital expenditure component in the budget till March next year.

The amendment was perfected at plenary shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget estimates to the joint session of the National Assembly.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, explained that the essence of the amendment was to allow the executive arm of government to execute some capital projects during the dry season pending the approval of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

Saraki assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would ensure thorough screening of the 2016 budget estimates presented by Buhari.

The Senate president, who stated this shortly before Buhari presented the 2016 Appropriation Bill to the joint session of the National Assembly, also urged the executive to respect the judgement of the lawmakers in the course of their oversight activities.

He said, “We acknowledge that the task of implementing the budget is primarily that of the executive. But our recent experience has shown that even with the best of intentions, too much discretionary powers over budget matters are inimical to accountability.

“It is also true that impunity and corruption thrive best when the democratic safeguards for checks and balances collapse and accountability institutions abdicate their responsibilities. In this regard, the 8th National Assembly intends to discharge its oversight responsibilities fully.”

He implored the President to support the lawmakers in the important task by ensuring that top government officials promptly respond to invitations for clarifications whenever they were required to do so by the National Assembly.

Saraki said, “Mr. President, if only half of the unfolding allegations regarding financial misappropriation under the previous administration are true, they would already be sufficient evidence of the dangers that we face when public officials treat accountability institutions with disdain and oversight activities with irritation.

“I am confident that your avowed commitment to the rule of law and accountability will have no accommodation for such behaviour. On our own side, we want to assure you that we shall only pursue that which is provided for by the laws and strictly within the ambits of the law.”

He added that both chambers of the National Assembly would remain united in their support for the Buhari administration.

Saraki stated, “We both recognise that even as we seek to maintain the integrity and independence of our respective chambers, that autonomy must be embedded within the overriding responsibility we all have to improve the quality of lives of our people and make them proud once again to be Nigerians.