By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Ministers and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been ordered to immediately head to the National Assembly to defend their 2018 budget proposals.
This directive was given by President Muhammadu Buhari after a meeting with principal officers of the parliament yesterday.
The lawmakers were led to the President at Aso Rock by the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
They complained that passage of the 2018 budget was delayed because the parastatals have failed to come forward to defend their budgets.
The meeting which started at about 9:10 pm yesterday, ended at about 10:38 pm.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said the President was worried about the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget he summited to the National Assembly in November 2017 for approval.
“The president gave them update on security, economy, job creation, processes in the National Assembly especially with regards to the budget and need to conclude on time and Mr President has given instruction that all ministers and heads of parastatals should ensure that they appear before the National Assembly to defend their submissions so that we can get this out of the way.
“You know this is a very dynamic year and there are preparations for elections and we are having quite a lot of security challenges and so if we don’t appropriate, where will the money come from?” Mr Mustapha informed journalists at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
On his part, the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, who addressed newsmen, expressed hopes that the budget would be passed soon with this directive.
“We are hoping that with the speed up now, they will come and defend their budget,” Mr Saraki said.
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