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Ekweremadu blames federal government for late passage of budgets

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Nigeria’s deputy Senate president Ike Ekweremadu on Wednesday said the executive arm of government was responsible for the late passage of the country’s budgets.

“Another issue is that the Executive usually presents the Budget late in the year, giving the National Assembly little time to deliberate on the budget, thereby leaving very little time for implementation,” Ekweremadu said.

Ekweremadu, who spoke during plenary, said the Senate is often left with limited time to deliberate on issues of national importance captured in the budget.

According to him, “It is important that we discipline ourselves and correct this in the future.”

Nigeria’s 8th National Assembly led by Senate president Bukola Saraki has a torrid relationship with the Executive with regards to passing spending plans.

Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari since 2015 of his election as president, has presented budgets for successive years in November and December to the National Assembly.

Buhari presented 2016 and 2018 budgets in November and presented the 2017 and 2019 budgets in December.

The executive and legislature have blamed each other on who is responsible for the budget presentation delays.

On Thursday, December 13 2018, the federal government attributed the delay in the presentation of the 2019 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to the failure of the National Assembly to provide a date for the presentation.

“As you already know, the budget is ready. We are liaising with the National Assembly because they are to give us a date. If they say today, we will go. The budget is ready,” Nigeria’s budget and planning minister Udoma Udoma said.

Prior to the minister’s claim, the chairman, House of Reps committee on media and public affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas in November 2018 said, the executive would have acted on the budget promptly if the constitution had provided a deadline for budget presentation, passage and signing into law

“It is in the interest of both the government of the day and Nigerians that budgets are presented in time. There was this clamour by the government to see whether we can go back to a January-December budget cycle. And for us to achieve that, they have to be consistent in bringing the budgets early,” Namdas said.

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