Senate majority leader, Ahmed Lawan has said President Muhammadu Buhari will get the 2017 budget by next week.
Speaking with state house correspondents after meeting with Buhari on Thursday, Lawan assured Nigerians that the budget would be ready for the assent of the president.
He said the raid on the residence of Danjuma Goje, chairman, senate committee on appropriation, had slowed down the progress made on the budget.
Last Thursday, the police raided Goje’s Abuja residence and carted away some monies and documents.
The lawmaker had claimed that the police took away documents relevant to the budget during the invasion, an allegation which the police denied.
Lawan faulted the action of the security agency but said there was nothing to worry about.
“Let me say that there is nothing to worry about. The national assembly had intended to pass the budget in March but because of some parameters that we didn’t have control over, we couldn’t pass it,” he said.
“It was our design and desire to pass it within this month, April, but somehow, something happened.
”One of our colleagues, the chairman, senate committee on appropriation, Distinguished Senator Danjuma Goje’s house was raided by the police after a whistleblower gave information and when parts of those documents were taken away, it was reported that parts of the budget papers were included.
“This and other things that happened and essentially, the trauma that the chairman, senate committee on appropriation had to go through, affected the process of budgeting.
“When we were going on Easter recess, members of the senate committee on appropriation, including that of the house, did not go on recess. They stayed back because that was the arrangement, so that by the time we returned on April 25, that was Tuesday, they should lay the report of the budget.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible because of what happened. But the good news is that we are doing everything possible to ensure that we catch up with the lost time. So, by the grace of God, I’m thinking that by next week, we should be able to finish our own work and pass the budget for Mr President to sign.”
In December, Buhari presented N7.298 trillion proposal to the national assembly.
Lawan said the meeting with Buhari was part of continuous engagements to get correct briefings that would enable him “market presidential requests to his colleagues well and on scheduled”.
“As the senate leader, l have the responsibility to market all our bills and requests in the senate and therefore, this is my second move in the villa,” he said.
“Therefore, I have come to meet Mr. President as part of my continuous engagements to be sure that l get my briefings right so that l can always market presidential requests so well and as scheduled, this is supposed to be a continuous process. That is essentially why l have come to meet the president.
”My presence here is part of that engagement because even as legislators, we lobby. When we have our bills, we lobby our colleagues. We go to their houses. We send some write-ups to explain the necessity of that bill. We move from one seat to the next, talking to our colleagues. So, there is nothing wrong and l believe it is something we need to cultivate as a culture in this democracy.”
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