Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki yesterday said the National Assembly would henceforth be committed to only budget that could be implemented to the letter.
Saraki stated this when President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget to the joint session of the federal legislature in Abuja.
He said, “On the budget we are willing and ready to provide the scrutiny necessary to pass only a budget that can be implemented comprehensively to the letter. We are ready to move swiftly and speedily to pass the 2016 Appropriation Bill”.
“The swift passage of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper already points to our commitment and resolve towards this”, he added.
The Senate President, who thanked legislators in both the lower and upper chambers for their steadfastness and patriotism in the passage of the documents, assuring that the National Assembly would apply same in the 2016 budget.
“I acknowledge that the task of implementing the budget is primarily that of the Executive. But our recent experience has shown that even with the best of intentions, too much discretionary powers over budget matters are inimical to accountability.
“It is also true that impunity and corruption thrive best when the democratic safeguards for checks and balances collapse and accountability institutions abdicate their responsibilities.
“In this regard, the 8th National Assembly intends to discharge our oversight responsibilities fully”, he stressed.
The Senate President therefore implored Buhari to “support us in this important task by ensuring that members of your government promptly respond to invitations for clarifications when they are required to do so by the National Assembly”.
He went further, “Mr. President, if only half of the unfolding allegations regarding financial misappropriation under the previous administration are true, they would already be sufficient evidence of the dangers that we face when public officials treat accountability institutions with disdain and oversight activities with irritation.
“I am confident that your avowed commitment to the rule of law and accountability would have no accommodation for such behaviour.
“On our own side, we want to assure you that we shall only pursue that which is provided for by the laws and strictly within the ambits of the law”.
Saraki also assured Buhari that both chambers were in support of his administration.
“We both recognize that even as we seek to maintain the integrity and independence of our respective Chambers, that autonomy must be embedded within the overriding responsibility we all have, to improve the quality of lives of our people and make them proud once again to be Nigerians.
“We recognize that a harmonious National Assembly is essential not only to Legislative progress, but also for the Executive to function effectively. I therefore invite Mr. President to take advantage of this relationship, which we have not had for a couple of years, to push through some of the necessary reforms that would promote our economy.
“It is in this light that the National Assembly is also prioritising the passage of laws that further enhances our business environment and promotes accountability in governance”, Saraki said.

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