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2020 budget: We expect early presentation by Buhari — Gbajabiamila

The National Assembly expects President Muhammadu Buhari to transmit the 2020 budget estimates to the Legislature for consideration and approval, Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with the President in Abuja on Friday, he said the Legislature was intent on returning the budget circle to January-December.

The Speaker disclosed that it was one of the issues he discussed with the President.

He, however, said he could not give a definite date on when the National Assembly might receive the budget.

Gbajabiamila said, “we discussed the issue of the budget. As you are aware, we want to bring the budget circle back to what it used to be, January to December and the only way to do that is for an early presentation of the budget and we have discussed that and we are working towards that.

“We discussed security issues and the issue of the recent $9 billion award against Nigeria. I say that with a smile but not really smiling. Clearly we are in opposition to that and steps would be taken.”

“I cannot give a definite answer but I know the budget is going to come as early as possible. It may be the end of this month or shortly thereafter, but I cannot give you any definite date. But it’s going to be an early presentation so that we can pass the budget before the end of the year and return to the January to December circle,” he said.

The Speaker hinted on the possibility of Nigeria severing bilateral relationship with South Africa over the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

While noting that the government would always stand with her citizens, he said, “We are not there yet, nothing is off the table, we will take each day as it comes. As of now Mr. President has taken proactive steps in evacuating our citizens, recalling the High Commissioner, and other things would ollow.

“I believe we will stand with and by Nigerians. The leadership of the House has issued a statement today (yesterday) and it is in tandem with what the executive is doing. We stand by our citizens that is our priority, to protect the constitution, to protect the welfare of the citizens and that is exactly what we are doing and that is what the president is doing.”

Gbajabiamila further said: “As you are aware, I cut my trip to Tanzania short and came home with the hope of reconvening the house where we are going to address this very important issue. We have called that off because events have overtaken it; the government has taken proactive steps, the same steps we would have asked for.

“We are all on the same page with the president and the government. So I came to fully discussed that with Mr. President. We discussed the issue of security, what have been happening in South Africa and other national issues that require the attention of both the legislature and the executive, and we had very fruitful discussions on those issues.”

 
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