Senate President Ahmad Lawan (image courtesy Nigerian Senate)

Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said that the National Assembly would accelerate work on the 2020 Appropriation Bill being presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The senate president made this known in his opening address at the budget presentation ceremony on Tuesday.

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The lawmaker added that it is imperative for the country to return to a January-December budget cycle.

He said: “The public, as well as the private sector, need a reliable budget cycle that is predictable and reliable for planning and execution of their financial policies and programmes.

“It is, therefore, necessary that the present cycle is changed to a January to December cycle. In this regard, the National Assembly and the Executive must work together to ensure the realisation of this important objective.

“In this regard, our committees will be expected to conclude their work on budget defence within October this year, the subsequent necessary legislative work will be carried out in November and December, leading to the eventual passage before the end of this year.”

Lawan urged the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government to turn up before the National Assembly committees for the defence of their budget proposals as contained in the bill.

Consequently, Lawan said that all budget defence sessions would be concluded in October, other legislative processes would be done on the bill in November, while the lawmakers had planned to pass the budget in December.

“The National Assembly, after the receipt of the budget estimate today will swing into swift action to start work, both chambers have constituted their committees we are therefore ready to start processing the budget estimate.

“In order for timely passage, all MDAs are expected to appear before the committees for the defence of their budget estimate within the month of October. We have earmarked the month of October to be the sole window for all budget defence activities in this year by all MDAs.

“Clearly, this effort is to enable the FG provides those laudable objectives of physical infrastructure and socio-economic services to our citizens,” he said.