Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all ministers and parastatals to appear before the National Assembly to defend their budgets.
Mustapha disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting Buhari had with leaders of the National Assembly at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said, “The President gave them (the lawmakers) update on security, economy, job creation, processes in the National Assembly especially with regards to the budget and the need to conclude on it.
“Mr. President has given instruction that all ministers 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.
“You know this is a very dynamic year and there are preparation 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?”
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, also disclosed that the meeting was on budget, security and other national issues.
He said the National Assembly leadership also gave the President their opinions during the interaction.
Saraki said the legislature was working on the budget, noting that some agencies were yet to defend their budget
“We are hoping that with the speed up now, they will come and defend their budget,” he said.
Those who attended the meeting from the National Assembly included the Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Lasun Yusuf; Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan; House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senator Sola Adeyeye, Philip Aduda, House Chief Whip, Al-Hassan Dogowa, and Deputy Whip, Pally Iriase among others.
Aduda was the only member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party that attended the meeting while all others are from the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Conspicuously absent were Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Godswill Akpabio-Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha-Deputy Minority Leader and Biodun Olujimi-Deputy Minority Whip.
Buhari was joined from the Executive arm of government by his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Mustapha; Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina; Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.