Don’t Boycott 2019 Budget Presentation, Ndume Begs Senators
Senator Ali Ndume of the All Progressives Congress, representing Borno South has pleaded with his colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives not to boycott the 2019 Budget presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ndume told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abuja that if the comment credited to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udoma, on the budget was true, it was unnecessary.
Some members of the House of Representatives had on Thursday threatened to boycott the budget presentation over reports that the minister blamed the National Assembly for delaying the process.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on December 6, in an executive communique, announced that he would present the 2019 Budget to the National Assembly on December 12.
However, as at December 13, when the Senate adjourned plenary for the week, no letter to that effect was read at plenary, creating uncertainty around the presentation before the National Assembly adjourns for the year.
Ndume, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, urged his colleagues to reconsider their position in the interest of the nation.
“I understand the reactions of the honourable members, is as a result of the unnecessary comment credited to the Minister of Budget as to who is responsible for the delay.
“My take on this is that two wrongs do not make a right and I want to appeal to my colleagues in the House of Representatives to have a rethink because the President is not responsible for what the minister was alleged to have said.
I feel national interest should be placed above any individual or group interest.
“As for the Senate, the letter from Mr President as to when to present the budget has not been read,” he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that, to quicken passage, it was imperative for the budget to reach the parliament before the Christmas break.
He said: “I feel the best thing to do is for the president to present the budget, especially before we go on Christmas break.
“So that copies of the budget will be circulated to members to enable them start work on it.
“On resumption immediately after Christmas, we will start working on considering the budget for passage.
“So, I feel the reasonable thing to do is to receive Mr President in a joint session because it is very key to our national interest.