THE SENATE President, Godswill Akpabio, has asked President Bola Tinubu to restrict Ministers and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government from travelling outside the country during the period of budget defence.
Akpabio made the demand on Wednesday in his address at the presentation of the 2024 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.
The senate president specifically requested that President Tinubu mandate all ministers and heads of federal government agencies to avoid travels that would prevent them from appearing before the federal lawmakers to defend their budget estimates.
He said the lawmakers of the two chambers of the National Assembly will thoroughly scrutinise the 2024 budget before passage.
“In conclusion, we assure you that the proposals you have come to present will be diligently considered accordingly. We approach this moment with a sense of duty, unity, and purpose.
“To ensure maximum attention to the review of the Year 2023 Budget performance and the consideration of the Year 2024 Budget Proposal, we request that Mr President would mandate Honourable Ministers and Heads of Agencies to avoid any travelling engagements that would prevent them from honouring our invitation to promptly appear before our committees to defend their budget estimates.
“As we embark on the journey of reviewing the 2024 budget, let us remember that our actions today will shape the future of our nation. Together, let us work towards a budget that reflects the aspirations and dreams of every Nigerian citizen for a greater country,” Mr Akpabio said
The budget defence is expected to commence next week and be concluded before the end of December.
Senator Akpabio appealed to the federal government to find a lasting solution to reducing the high debt profile of the country.
“We also want to plead with the government to do all within its powers to reduce our high debt profile. We know that Mr President inherited this worrisome burden. But then the mark of a great leader is that he fixes the problems wherever they exist,” he said.
The senate president assured of the commitment of the federal lawmakers in supporting the administration of President Tinubu to fulfil its promises.
“Mr President, as we embark on this budget presentation, let us reaffirm our commitment to responsible governance, fiscal prudence, and the efficient allocation of resources for the benefit of all Nigerians. Together, with the spirit of unity and collaboration, we can overcome challenges and usher in an era of unprecedented development through reinvigorated revenue generation and fiscal prudence,” he said.
Senator Akpabio said federal lawmakers will continue to fight against corruption stressing that the National Assembly will collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to prevent corrupt individuals from embezzling public funds.
“We will continue to support the war against corruption and collaborate with anti-graft agencies to ensure that we do not continue to lose money that could be used to develop our people. The Tenth Assembly will always stand with the people, protect their constitutional rights and fight for their welfare.
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“We are glad that you share these sentiments for our people and had codified these in the Renewed Hope Agenda. This Agenda resonates with us as an instrument the people endorsed by voting you into office. Our legislative agenda constellates around it and we believe its faithful implementation would augur well for our nation, and put our country on a new growth trajectory. “Mr President, we reiterate and assure you of the National Assembly’s readiness to support your administration. Our legislative agenda reflects our dedication to the Nigerian people, and we look forward to achieving remarkable milestones for our great nation under your purposeful leadership. However, from whom much is given, much is expected, and we will try to perform the oversight functions expected of this Assembly and ensure that the taxpayers’ money is used to benefit the taxpayer,” Akpabio said.