A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), including Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), on Wednesday, urged the National Assembly to pass the 2918 Budget without further delay.
The call came after close to six months when President Buhari had laid the Appropriation Bill before the joint session of the National Assembly.
The Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu and Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), who gave the charge at a news conference in Abuja, noted that the prolonged delay in passing the Bill was not desirable to growing the economy and current efforts targeted at the nation’s development.
Nwagwu lamented: “It is sad that five months down the year, the national budget is not yet passed by the National Assembly. This is a statutory function of the National Assembly.
“Nigeria cannot grow its economy and provide for citizens’ welfare without a national budget passed, assented and fully implemented.”
The civil activist pointed out that the delay in the passage of the budget was unpatriotic and amounted to sabotaging the country’s growth and development even as he carpeted the lawmakers for delaying the passage of other bills critical to fighting corruption in the country.
Accordingly, he demanded that Bills such as Proceeds of Crime Bill, Whistle Blowers Protection Bill and other pending Bills in the extractive sector, which will further enhance the fight against corruption, needs to be urgently passed by the National Assembly.
Nwagwu charged the Senate to re-focus and carry out its legislative and constitutional responsibility with a sense of patriotism towards supporting efforts in fighting corruption.
He said: “We are disappointed at the apparent disproportionate refusal by the Nigerian Senate to confirm the substantive chief executives and Boards of Critical Anti-Corruption Agencies (EFFC, ICPC and CCB).
“We frown at the seeming arbitrary use of the power of confirmation constitutionally granted the Senate to withhold the confirmation of the statutory governance structure of these bodies.
“This is in spite of the enormous work they do and risk their lives on a daily basis. This creates low morale for personnel to fully engage in their duties,” the civil activist added.