Senate President, Bukola Saraki has asked Nigerians to expect quick passage of 2017 Budget that is better than this year’s because of wider consultation and collaboration going on among stakeholders.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2017 Budget to a joint session of the National Assembly in the next 10 days. Saraki bared his mind to journalists yesterday after he met with Buhari over the budget, which had been a thorny issue between the National Assembly and the Presidency.
Emerging from his closed-door parley with Buhari, the Senate President told State House correspondents that a lot of work had been done behind the scene to prevent a recurrence of the scandal that trailed the 2016 Budget.
Saraki said “I came for consultation with the President on a number of national issues. We are all getting towards the end of the year, getting the budget (ready); just regular consultation”.
Asked how ready the Senate was to receive the new budget, he replied: “we are ready. Once the document comes to us, we are ready. “I think this time around, a lot work has taken place behind the scene, there is a lot of more collaboration and you will see the result of that in the time frame it will take after the president will have presented it.
“I am very optimistic that this year’s budget will be passed much more sooner than what we saw in the past.”
He however, said he could not give out details of the budget because “I haven’t seen the details until the president lays it. I am sure within the next 10 days, it will be presented”. On the other issue of the equally contentious Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the Senate President said “it is still a work in progress. I am sure that very soon, that matter will be concluded”.
Recalling the rowdy session that erupted on the floor of the Senate after a member defected to the another party, Saraki said “it is democracy at work. The opposition party has its views about the defection of a senator to the APC.
Normalcy has been restored to the house and we are one family again”.