By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA— A member of the House of Representatives, James Faleke, has clarified the delay regarding the passage of the 2017 budget, saying while the fiscal policy document was ready for parliamentary assent, it was necessary to have it delayed till now in order to produce a clean copy devoid of any form of padding.
Faleke spoke, yesterday, in Abuja when he led some Kogi All Progressives Congress, APC, stakeholders to a closed door parley with the national leadership of the party.
He said: “Budget processes take some time. Unlike what we had before, where you talk about budget padding or no padding, what the National Assembly tried to do this time was to do the needful once and for all, with the budget details being submitted.
“The budget is ready, as all committees have finished their work, only to be considered on the floor, probably this week.
“It is not about delay but doing things right. If we hurriedly do it and get things wrong, Nigerians will condemn us. It is about doing things right.”
On the performance of APC government after two years in office, Faleke, who was a deputy governorship candidate in the last governorship election in Kogi State, said Nigeria would have collapsed but for the advent of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “It is true that the administration would be two years old by May 29 and I can tell you sincerely that the country has moved forward from what we used to have.
“Do not forget that during the last regime, things had almost collapsed and the economy that has collapsed is not easy to reform over night and I think what the President has done in the last two years is to have taken time to reform the economy which is now yielding fruits.”
“I think if we did not have a drop in fuel price, maybe things would have been better off by now. In terms of security, we have done a lot, in terms of reorganizing our income, especially as regards what the Federal Government gets in the form of revenue, I am sure you will agree that we have done a lot.
“In terms of plugging loopholes and fighting corruption, you know that we have done a lot. You cannot imagine how much has been recovered from individuals. If that system had continued till now, this country would have collapsed and I want to give kudos to the President for doing that.
“There are still areas of improvement. In governance, you cannot have it all as it is a continuous cycle. I think we should thank God for President Muhammadu Buhari for coming as at the time he came, after running for government for about 12 years. Nigerians should just be patient and see the last two years of this government.”
Faleke, who confirmed that there was crisis in the Kogi State chapter of the party, however, refused to comment further on the issue.