The Senate’s deadline for the 2021 budget defence would not exceed the first week of November, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan has said.
The Senate President made this known in a statement on Friday, revealing the Senate would be suspending plenary for two weeks.
Lawan also said before the suspension of plenary, however, the Senate will consider the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to enable it pass second reading and be referred to the relevant committees for legislative work.
“The Senate will from Tuesday next week commence defence of the 2021 budget estimates by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government and therefore will be suspending plenary for two weeks.
“Before the suspension of plenary however, we’ll give consideration to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to enable it pass second reading and be referred to the relevant committees for legislative work, just the way we have done to the budget today.
“The Senate’s deadline for budget Defence would not exceed the first week of November. Therefore, all Ministers and Heads of Government Agencies should avail themselves of the window provided for defence of their respective budgets, particularly in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
“Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave specific orders that no Minister or Chief Executive should travel out of the country or anywhere else, without defending the budget of his or her Ministry or Agency.
“I’m sure that directive has remained in the clouds, in fact, the President even repeated a more serious one in his address to us at the retreat; that all Ministers and Heads of Agencies of government must come to defend the budget in person.
“So, we are waiting for them from next week. Unlike last year, we would have a Programme which will take the remaining part of October and the first week of November.
“This will be the only window, and nobody should assume that after this period, a Minister or any Head of Agency will come to the National Assembly to defend any budget.
“If any Ministry is not able to defend its budget by the first week of November, then that Ministry should forget about coming to the National Assembly for budget defense.
“The National Assembly will perform its constitutional function of working on the budget proposal in the best interest of our people,” the statement read.