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Gbajabiamila seeks return to January-December Budged Circle

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday, urged the Presidency to ensure the early submission of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), to allow for the early passage of the 2020 budget.

Gbajabiamila, spoke during a courtesy visit by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha and his team at the National Assembly, adding that it’s to help the country return to a January to December budget cycle.

He said: “Again, part of the reforms which we want to achieve is; I will want a situation where before we go on long break in the next week, maybe three week, I would want a situation where the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF will be submitted to this House so that we can pass it before going.

“And then, when we come back in September, may be by the end of September, the budget is before us. Because by finance laws, the budget is based in the MTEF.

“The MTEF needs to be submitted. At the end if the day, we don’t want the budget to be brought in December.

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“So, this is the timetable that we have set. One, the MTEF to be submitted. Two, we work on it and go on our long break and then come back.

“At the end of September,  present the budget to us. And what does that do? It leaves us with three months to pass the budget. It brings us back to that circle of January to December.

“And by January 1, we pass the budget as envisaged in the constitution.

“We want you to help us with this process. We want to streamline the budget process because the input of the members cannot be negotiated.

“So, if that input can come before the presentation of the budget, fine. So, that when the budget comes, we just need little things here and there but not to rewrite a whole budget because we have not been carried along from onset. I think those are the issues.”

Hon. Gbajabiamila, while stating that “We want good collaboration,” also made some demands on the SGF “to allow for better working conditions in the National Assembly.”

He said the NASS would be coming to the executive “with a shopping list which will make our work easier.

“The list will include things like Library, world class, international standard library. we will be needing your intervention in that regard. We will need to make the House IT complaint.

“But I am glad to announce that even by tomorrow as we resume sitting, one of our reforms will already be in place.

“The chambers is more or less 80% IT compliant. We have a new set of equipment that allow easy face recognition and electronic registration or internet server as they say.

“This was done on our own in the last 2 to 3 weeks because they were promises we made and we must fulfill.”

The Speaker further said “there is independence and also interdependence of all three arms of government. You need me and I need.

“It’s going to be a symbiotic relationship between all three arms of government. No one is an island.

“And the three of us need to work together for the good of the people who we seek to govern.

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“We will handover the maintenance of this building to the FCT because as it is today, the building is almost collapsing. “Maintenance is at zero level. We believe that it should be handed over to the FCT where it will a lot easier. ”

Speaking earlier, the SGF said he had come on a courtesy call to congratulate the lawmakers on a bipartisan and transparent election.

Mustapha who came to the National Assembly in company of the Special Senior Assistants to the President on National Assembly matters in both chambers, Sen. Ita Enang and Hon. Umar el-Yakub said: “This is a courtesy call to pursue the path of a working together to ensure that the people get the dividends of democracy which they truly desire,”

He expressed confidence ” that the calibre of people elected in the 9th Assembly would to along way in proffering solution that would bring succour to our people.”