‘9th Senate’ll Bar Ministers From Overseas Trip During Budget Defence’- Lawan
Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, says the leadership of the 9th Senate under him will seek the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to stop ministers from travelling outside the country during the budget defence.
He said the one month given to the ministers to appear before different committees in the Senate may also not attract plenary sitting in the National Assembly.
Lawan, who is one of those aspiring to lead the Senate, spoke with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Senate leader also said that the ministers would only be allowed to travel outside the country only on health grounds.
He said this would be one of the ways of achieving a three-month passage of the budget after its presentation to the National Assembly by President Buhari.
Lawan, who was accompanied to the briefing by some of his supporters, said the Senate under his leadership would also plan to pass the budget before Christmas of each year.
He said, “Even though the budgeting issue varies from time to time, sometimes the crisis may last for three months, four months and sometimes seven months.
“We believe that we can turn this around with the right attitude and it takes the two sides of government; in this case the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government.
“First, we should not leave the shores of Nigeria for anything unless it is health problem. We must stay around, ensure we have a time frame for budget defence.
“When I say time frame, I mean we will devote one whole month for budget defence, no plenary unless it becomes absolutely necessary. We will approach the Executive arm of government and discuss things with them.
“It will be a huge relief if we can achieve it. So, we will tell the Executive arm of government that no minister, no chief executive officer of any MDA should leave this country unless it is absolutely necessary and inevitable without defending his or her budget or the budget of the ministry.
“That one month window should be the only window for budget defence. If any minister or any chief executive officer fails without cogent reasons to defend the budget of the ministry, then that window will be shut and the National Assembly should treat that proposal as it deems fit with all the necessary safeguards to ensure that there is no abuse.”
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