The House of Representatives has adopted a new protocol on budget defence for Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
Speaker of the House Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila said this at President Muhammadu Buhari’s presentation of the 2021 budget estimate to the joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that all Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of MDAs would no longer be allowed to come with their individual protocols during budget defence.
“Let me also use this opportunity to announce a new protocol in the House; henceforth, all MDAs who come to defend their budget proposals will do so without their security details present.
“We must take this course of action to prevent the unacceptable proliferation of side-arms in the hearing rooms during such engagements.
“Additionally, the House intends to adhere to the COVID-19 social distancing protocols, and we need to be able to limit the numbers of people in these hearing rooms at any point in time.
“The House learnt some lessons at a high cost in the past few months, and we must ensure that lessons we learnt are reflected in the budget that emerged from the appropriation process,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said that the budget proposal would receive thorough and speedy consideration, adding that the National Assembly would deliver a budget that truly met the needs and aspirations of the citizenry.
He said that the National Assembly would strive to stick to the January-to-December budget cycle, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He conveyed the pledge of the House to pass a budget which reflected the people’s priority concerns such as healthcare, education, public infrastructure and the development of an economy that was less dependent on fossil fuels.
Gbajabiamila said that the House had promised to ensure that all Nigerians were able to achieve their dreams, in line with their efforts and commitment.
“We kept that promise too but we recognise that more needs to be done, and I assure all the Nigerian people that we will continue to work hard in this regard,” he said.
The speaker said that the presentation of the 2021 budget proposal by President Buhari was a testament to the beauty of democracy in the country.
He said that the 9th National Assembly started with a promise to ensure a budget process that was free of rancour, adding that it had since kept to that promise.