By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Dec. 30, 2022
Barring any last-minute changes, President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the 2023 appropriation bill on Tuesday (Jan. 3, 2023).
Senate President Ahmed Lawan confirmed this to State House correspondents on Friday after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Lawan revealed that he discussed some national issues with Buhari, including the president’s recent additional loan request, the legislature’s support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the general elections and the 2023 Appropriation Bill.
He said: “We are looking forward to Mr President signing the Appropriation Bill 2023, by the grace of God, on Tuesday.
“This is because we signed the document yesterday (Thursday), having lost some time because of some anomalous figures we had in the bill presented to the National Assembly (NASS).
“But thank God, the NASS in both chambers have passed the Appropriation Bill 2023 on Wednesday, and I’m sure that Mr President and his team, on the executive side, will work on what we have done.
”And the first thing on Tuesday, the first official working day of the year, I believe that Mr President will be signing the Appropriation Bill 2023.”
He lamented that the NASS would have passed the bill a week earlier had it not been for irregularities spotted in the bill.
“We are very pleased that we have been able to, in the last four years, ensure the passage of the appropriation bills in record time before every Christmas, and Mr President had always signed before the end of the year.
“This year, particularly, is because of the anomalous, very undesirable and unfortunate situation that we had to delay a little bit.
“You will recall that the NASS had to cut down its Christmas recess to come back on Wednesday for the sole purpose of passing the appropriation bill which we could have passed a week before. So all the same, there’s nothing that we missed,” he further stated.
According to him, the seamless working relationship between the executive and the legislature has regularised the signing of the appropriation bills since 2018, resulting in a “predictable January to December” budget for our country.
On the 2023 general elections, Lawan pledged that NASS would continue to assist and support INEC to enable it deliver credible elections.
“We also discussed the 2023 general elections. The current NASS has always supported the executive in terms of ensuring that INEC gets whatever is necessary for it to work to ensure that elections are supported, that INEC doesn’t lack in anything.
“So we have committed ourselves to ensuring that we give INEC whatever it needs for it to conduct a very free, transparent and credible 2023 general elections.
”We are here at all times between now and June 11 when our term will also expire as a legislature in the NASS.
“But before then, whatever INEC needs for 2023 to be a success, we will surely and certainly provide such support,” he said.