President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow at 11am present the proposed N13.08trn 2021 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.
The announcement was made yesterday at both chambers of the National Assembly following the receipt of a letter from the president to the leadership of the National Assembly.
The letter addressed to the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, states: “May I crave the kind indulgence of the Distinguished Senate to grant me the slot of 11:00hrs on Thursday, 8th October, 2020, to formally present the 2021 Appropriation bill to the Joint Session of the National Assembly.”
“While I look forward to addressing the Joint session, please, accept Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regard”.
With this development, the Senate will consider and pass the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) today Wednesday, which is a pre-condition for the pre- sentation of the annual budget to the National Assembly.
LEADERSHIP reports that the ritual of annual budget presentation traditionally takes place at the more expansive Green Chamber of the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly.
It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, approved a bud- getary proposal of N13.08trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.
The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, made this known when she briefed State Hou- se correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting last week.
Therefore, barring a last-minute change of plan, President Buhari will present the approved 2021 budgetary estimates to the joint session of the National Assembly for consideration and subsequent passage into law for the next fiscal year starting in January 2021.
It’ll Be Irresponsible If We Fail To Solve Nigeria’s Problems – Osinbajo
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osin- bajo yesterday said that it would be callous and irresponsible if the executive and le- gislature don’t work together to solve the country’s grave problems.
Osinbajo made this known at the end of the Joint Executive-Legislative Leadership Retreat at the Presidential Villa. According to him, the COVID -19 pandemic has worsened poverty and unemployment in the country.
He said “this is all about Nigeria and Nige-
rians. This is the context for our operations. Let me say that every generation of leadership must understand context. Law itself must be interpreted and implemented in context.
“What is the reality of the context that we operate in today? We all know, our nation has millions of extremely poor people. The COVID 19 pandemic has worsened employment and poverty.
“We have huge deficits in infrastructure; many children are out of school. If that is our context we will be callous and irresponsible if we don’t come together, work together to sort out these grave life-threatening problems our people have to confront every day.
He also disclosed that there is no pure pra- ctice of separation of powers among the arms of government in the world.
He further explained: “The dogmatic emphasis on procedural niceties is a luxury we cannot afford.
In any event, there is no pure practice of the doctrine of separation of powers.
“The Anglo American traditions that we hold on to in support of the separation of powers are not pure…so, for example, the US Vice President serves as the president of the Senate and presides over the Senate’s daily proceedings.
He, however, called on the members of the Executive and Legislature to focus on what they have been elected or appointed to do which is the welfare of our people.
The vice president stated that the law and practice as between Parliament and Executive was a means to an end not an end of itself, adding that the means must not jeopar- dise the end.
“Our people just want food on their table, shelter over their heads, clothing on their bo- dies, healthcare and education for their chil- dren & themselves.
“So the good legislature or good minister is not the one who is waving the law, and proce- dure, and doctrines, it is the one who says the spirit of our Constitution is that we secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity,” he said.
Consequently, the FCT minister Mohammed Bello read out the recommendations of the retreat as follows: “There should be a concrete understanding and working knowledge of both the Executive and Legislature.
“An effective confidence-building measure should be put in place in the governance process to ensure mutual respect and cordial relationship between the Executive and Legislature.
“The creation of effective conflict management and resolution mechanism in resolving areas of disagreement between the Executive and Legislature in the overall national interest.
“Modalities for better access, interfacing and engagement between the leaderships of both arms of government, the NASS Committees and MDAs should be worked out by the SGF and NASS-Executive Liaison;
“There should be regular pre-budget consul- tations between the Executive and Legislatu- re particularly between the MDAs and NASS Committees, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the appropriate Com- mittee in NASS.
“There is a need for effective communication and collaborative engagement to enhance and strengthen the relationship between the arms
of government for the benefit of Nigerians.
“The relationship should not be adversarial but complementary, thus, more interpersonal and informal relationship between heads of MDAs and NASS members should be encouraged.
“Operators in the arms of government
should act with moderation and limit their sense of entitlement by placing public interest over and above personal and parochial interest.
“The Presidency should strengthen the ca- pacity of the Executive Liaison Offices in the National Assembly.
“There is a need for an organic budget law which will optimize the budgetary process so as to deliver effective and efficient service to the citizens.
“The ruling political party should be encouraged to take ownership of its members to be able to reconcile them whenever conflict arises, and, members in both arms of government should show regard for the party and its leadership.”
By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah and BODE GBADEBO,