Saturday, May 13, 2017 8:01 am
Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan said on Friday that the increase in allocation to the National Assembly, NASS in the 2017 budget was to take care of capital projects.
Lawan was explaining the reason behind the passage of N7.44 trillion instead of N7.3 trillion proposed by the executive arm of government in a chat with journalists at the presidential villa on Friday.
He added that the increase in the budget was derived from the two dollar difference in the oil benchmark.
He said that NASS was building the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) meant for capacity building of legislators and non-legislators alike.
He, however, said he did not think that the allocation was something big as far as NASS was concerned.
“You need to have a NASS that is really poised, wired and competent to produce good laws.
“Imagine a NASS where you have so many experts, many retired people from the industry, security services, even Presidents, for example, coming to the NASS.
“So we should have a NASS that is properly and fully kitted and with adequate capacity,’’ he said
The Senate Leader also noted that the 2017 budget as passed by the National Assembly captured new projects, including a second runway for the Abuja Airport, in the 2017 appropriation bill it passed.
Lawan told state House Correspondents that the projects were covered from the difference in the N42.5 oil benchmark proposed by the Executive and the N44.5 passed by NASS.
“We have been able to capture for example the second Abuja Airport runway which we all need in this country; we have suffered from having only one.
“We have also been able to capture in the NASS from that fund the completion of the Baro inland port.
“We have also been able to also include the Abeokuta Airport.
“There are so many other things including the Warri– Aladja rail line and so on and so forth.
“These are newly introduced capital projects from the proceeds, the difference between the N44.5 (passed by NASS) and the N42.5 bench mark that we received from the Executive.
“So, we have done fantastically well.
“There were no major issues like we had last year during the processing of the budget.’’
He said that what the NASS passed was still within the good bounds of what the executive presented as there was not much change in the allocations.
He said that the NASS tried to tinker in few cases but ensured that it did not disfigure the appropriation.
“There won’t be, in my opinion and judgment, any issue whether the NASS has tinkered with the budget because we haven’t done much tinkering with it.
“We have been able to agree mostly with what the executive has presented.
“But I want to assure you that this is one budget that the NASS has worked so hard to ensure that every part of the country gets something just as proposed by the executive,’’ he added.