President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari would next week present the 2021 budget estimates to a joint sitting of the National Assembly. Lawan made this known on Tuesday during plenary in a speech delivered to welcome lawmakers back from the Senate’s annual recess.
The Senate President while commending the Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning for carrying out comprehensive legislative work on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, stated that consideration of its report by the upper chamber would precede the presentation of the 2021 budget estimates next week by the President.
“The Joint committee will present it’s reported to the Senate today for consideration. This is a precursor to the presentation of the 2021 Budget Estimates by the Executive Arm of Government soon. I am aware that the Executive will be presenting the 2021 Budget Estimates by next week,” Lawan said.
The Senate President also announced that the upper chamber will provide a one month window for Budget defense by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies morning of government.
“Like last year, the month of October 2020 will be dedicated to this exercise. Subsequent months of November and December will be dedicated to the internal processing of the Budget by NASS.
“The various MDAs are therefore advised to ensure that they avail themselves the opportunity of the Budget defense window to appear with all the relevant and necessary information to defend their Budget Estimates,” Lawan added.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill, the Senate President said that the Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Petroleum Resources (Upstream), and Gas had preliminary engagements with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and other Stakeholders in the Oil and Gas industry, to discuss the critical piece of legislation.
According to him, “the PIB has been conveyed to the Senate for consideration.”
Budget, Lawan who emphasized the need for both chambers to carry out oversights to ensure its proper implementation, stressed that the same must be “targeted at addressing the specific challenges occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic.”
He added that “the Senate needs to pay particular attention to the implementation of the Federal Government Economic Sustainability Plan.
“The strategic plan is an essential means of revamping our economy, as it provides interventions in the Mass Agricultural Programme, Infrastructure, Mass Housing Programme, Investments in Healthcare Infrastructure, amongst others.”
Lawan while speaking on the ongoing Constitution Review exercise, said the same will be expeditiously carried out by the upper chamber “to improve the quality of governance and ensure stability in our polity.”
He added that amendments to the Electoral Reform Amendment Bills will enhance free, fair, transparent, and credible elections in our country. Lamenting the security situation in parts of the country, the Senate President who underscored the need to continuously seek enduring measures to arrest the situation, pledged the support of the Senate to provide the necessary legislative intervention at all times to improve the situation.