• en

Buhari Will Sign 2023 Appropriation Bill on Tuesday, Says Senate President Lawan

He promised INEC that the National Assembly will support free and fair polls.

Ahmad Lawan

Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the 2023 appropriation bill on Tuesday, January 3 2023.

Dropping the hint Friday while speaking to newsmen after meeting behind closed-doors with the President at the State House,  Abuja, the Senate President said the issue of the President’s recent additional loan request, the 2023 appropriate bill as well as the legislature’s support to the Independent National Electoral Commission ahead of the general elections were discussed at the meeting.

The National Assembly Chairman regretted that the signing of the budget is coming in a bit later than that of the 2022 which was signed on December 31 2021. 

According to him: “We are looking forward to Mr. President signing the Appropriation Bill 2023, by the grace of God, on Tuesday.

“This is because we signed the documents yesterday, having lost some time because of some anomalous figures we had in the bill presented to the National Assembly.

“But thank God, the National Assembly in both chambers have passed the Appropriation Bill 2023 on Wednesday, and I’m sure that Mr. President and his team, on the executive side will work on what we have done. And the first thing on Tuesday, the first official working day of the year, I believe that Mr. President will be signing the Appropriation Bill 2023.”

Lawan said the irregularities spotted in the bill was responsible for the delay in it signing, adding that it was the first time in the past four years that the Buhari-led government signs the national budget in the new year.

According to him, “We are very pleased that we have been able to, in the last four years, ensure the passage of the appropriation bills in record time before every Christmas, and Mr. President had always signed before the end of the year.

“This year, particularly, is because of the anomalous, very undesirable and unfortunate situation that we had to delay a little bit.

“You will recall that the National Assembly had to cut down its Christmas recess to come back on Wednesday for the sole purpose of passing the appropriation bill which we could have passed a week before So all the same? There’s nothing that we missed.”

The Senate President said a seamless working relationship between the executive and the legislature has regularised the signing of the appropriation bills since 2018 resulting in a “predictable January to December budget for our country.”

Lawan explained that the  pattern set by the federal government, has trickled down to the states; most of whom now pass their appropriation bills and assent to them before the new year.

He said, “So it has this multiple impact on the polity. On the economy. When the federal government passes and assents to the appropriation bill, and the states do the same, the economy starts to receive injection of funds right from January of the following year.”

On the forthcoming general elections, the Senate President said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, “lacks nothing” assuring that the National Assembly will support it to deliver credible elections.

His words: “We also discussed the 2023 general elections. The current National Assembly has always supported the executive in terms of ensuring that INEC gets whatever is necessary for it to work to ensure that elections are supported, that INEC doesn’t lack in anything.

“So we have committed ourselves to ensuring that we give INEC whatever it needs for it to conduct a very free, transparent and credible 2023 general elections. And we are here at all times between now and June 11 when our term will also expire as a legislature in the National Assembly.

“But before then, whatever INEC needs for 2023 to be a success, we will surely and certainly provide such support,” he said.

On the general performance of the Buhari administration, Lawan stated that although the Federal Government has done well in infrastructure development, some Nigerians “will never say anything good” in it.

“There are some that will never say anything good in what whatever it is. It’s unfortunate. You cannot do anything with people like that. But on the whole, the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has done quite a lot,” he said.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja