Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Friday, said that the National Assembly is working towards the passage of the 2021 Appropriation Bill by the second week of December 2020.
Speaking at a retreat for top management staff of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission, he said the legislators “will ensure that there is every possible scrutiny of the budget estimates presented to us by the Executive arm of government.
A statement by Ola Awoniyi, Special Adviser (Media) to President of the Senate, quoted Lawan as saying that “so far, we achieved that in 2020 budget. We believe we did the right thing. We promised Nigerians that we will do that and it is going to be part of our legacy in the Ninth National Assembly.”
The Senate President also hinted that the Assembly would ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the second quarter of 2021, after several years and many fresh drafts.
“The PIB is one of the most essential legislations that in this country. We intend to pass it by the Grace of God before the end of the second quarter of next year.
“We will take our time because this is a very delicate and sensitive piece of legislation. We will take our time to ensure that what comes out of the National Assembly in the PIB is a product of legislation that will ensure that Nigeria earns it’s revenues from this industry as it should and of course also support our business people, the oil companies that are investing and in fact retain and encourage new ones to come to Nigeria to invest.
“So it has to be a win-win for all of us. We will not be selfish as a country, trying to take everything. No.
“Oil is like water now. Almost every country now has oil. So if you don’t provide a competitive environment in Nigeria, oil companies will have no difficulty relocating to other countries. So we will ensure that we have a competitive environment for business and for investment,” Lawan stressed.
The Senate President assured that the National Assembly would have been done with the current process of the constitutional amendment by 2021, just as the Electoral Act (Amendment Bill).
“The constitutional amendment, of course at the moment, is not very warm because of the activities of members of the National Assembly on the 2021 budget but the two committees in the Senate and the House are already working behind the scene to ensure that as soon as we pass the budget, the constitutional amendment activities will start in earnest.
“We believe that we should pass our amendments within 2021. Similarly, the amendment to the Electoral Act is going to be within that year 2021 to ensure that we don’t encounter unnecessary distractions,” Lawan said.