Four months after President Muhammadu Buhari presented an 8.6 trillion Naira 2018 Budget to the National Assembly, the document has still not scaled through the scrutiny of the lawmakers.

The delay appears not to be on the part of the lawmakers, but on the part of the Executive arm of government.

On Thursday, President Buhari and lawmakers held a meeting and the issue of budget delay topped talks.

So much was said about the budget and its early passage, but in reality, the 2018 budget appears to be tying its cord to the history of past budgets.

After the meeting which had in attendance, leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly and principal officers, President Buhari directed Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) yet to defend their 2018 budget proposal before the National Assembly (NASS) to do so without delay.

He believes that the action will fast-track the passage of the 2018 budget, to enable his administration to spend the money on key national needs including security and development of infrastructure.

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, issued the President’s directive while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, along with their principal officers attended the meeting.

Saraki described the outcome as ‘a good development’.

muhammadu buhari and national assembly leaders

Boss Mustapha said: “Mr President has given instructions that all ministries and parastatals should ensure that they appear before the National Assembly to defend their submissions so that we can get this out of the way.

“This is a very dynamic year, there are preparations for elections and we are having quite a number of security challenges.

“And so if we do not appropriate, where will the money come from to be able to prosecute some of the assignments the Federal Government has in the appropriation of 2018.

“So this is a very good meeting; we intend to build on it. It is a confidence building mechanism and it is an interface that would definitely get a new dimension of the governance of this country for the betterment of the people of Nigeria,’’ he said.

Prior to the meeting the National Assembly had maintained that inputs and questions that MDAs needed to attend to were delaying the passage of the 2018 budget.

Also Read: 126 Days After, Senate Has No Date To Pass 2018 Budget

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