We didn’t perform well enough from 2015 to 2019 —Senate President

SENATE President, Ahmed Lawan, has said that the Senate will insist that government officials must be up to speed in their responsibilities.

Speaking to State House correspondents on Friday in Abuja after observing Juma’at prayer with President Muhammadu Buhari, Lawan also said that the ninth Senate would attempt to make up for lost grounds in the last four years.

“I also foresee a National Assembly that will insist that whoever has a responsibility in government performs that responsibility because it takes all of us to work together to ensure that no part or nobody is left behind. If there is anyone that is deficient, it would cost the system.

“So, we are going to work very hard. We would like to catch up the lost grounds over the last four years.

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“I am sure we did not perform to our capacity as a National Assembly in the last National Assembly. This time around, we want to perform to full capacity and by the grace of God, Nigerians will see a positive difference in terms of delivery of service to our country men and women,” he said.

Lawan noted that Nigerians would want the National Assembly to be focused, affirming that his colleagues were ready to work for the interest of the country.

“The expectations from Nigerians is a National Assembly that is very focused, that is very united, that is very patriotic and nationalistic and that is, by the grace of God, the National Assembly that we shall have.

“From my interactions with my colleagues when I was contesting, every senator there when I was contesting has one massive experience or another. I saw my colleagues exhibiting patriotism and desire to work for Nigerians and therefore we hope to have a National Assembly that will work for Nigerians optimally and patriotically.

“We also hope to have a National Assembly that will work with the executive arm of government in a partnership and synergy to ensure that we perform our functions as a government because we are a single unit,” the Senate President said.

On the timely passage of budget bill, the Senate President expressed worries, saying that the executive must be prepared to pass the document on to the legislature for early attention.

“Well, this is a crucial thing that worries everyone. Every Nigerian wants to see the National Assembly pass the budget in good time and what we have in mind we’ve campaigned with that and it’s something both of us in the National Assembly have bought into – that we’ll pass the budget within three months, by the grace of God.

“But I want to say here that it takes two sides of government to pass the budget in good time and I am sure that the executive side of the government would  like to present the budget before the National Assembly in good time – in September or early October – and by the grace of God, we in the National Assembly will ensure that we carry out the budget defence and do the remaining parts of the processes and before we leave for Christmas break, the budget would have been passed and Mr President would have had the budget before him to sign and assent to.

“This requires sacrifice in the National Assembly and the executive side of the government that we create a window for budget defence only, a dedicated period and timeframe, say, a month, of which only budget defence would be carried out in the National Assembly.

“It is our desire in the National Assembly that every minister, every chief executive officer of every agency comes to the National Assembly and defend the budget of his agency or her agency before going out of the country.

“That window is going to be available within the one month but that is the only window that is going to be available. After that, for example, every minister or head of agency who did not come to defend the budget of that institution, the National Assembly would go ahead to work on such a budget appropriately.

“I believe that nobody would take pleasure in wasting the time of this administration. We are in a hurry, we are thirsty to perform, we want to support Mr President, we want to see Mr President achieve those legacy dreams that he has and we are going to work full course and full time to ensure that we give him the maximum support that he requires,” he said.

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