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Budget process must be collaborative, engaging – Saraki

Plateau – The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says for there to be quick passage of the National budget, there must be collaboration and engagement between the Executive and the Legisture.

Saraki made this known at a retreat on “Strengthening Executive -Legislature Relations” organised by the Senate Press Corps held in Jos, Plateau on Saturday.

He said:”So long as the process for the passage of the budget is not based on participation, engagement and collaboration, much will not be realised.

“The Executive and the legislature are partners. We need each other: the constitution does not allow one arm to work alone, that is why there is checks and balance.

“There is no the security architecture of this country that can work without a strong synergy between the executive and the legislature.

“When you see certain agencies, who by their actions and utterances frustrate the relationship between the two arms, you begin to wonder.

“What do we need to do? Do the police need more funding or more powers? Do they need new legislations to strengthen them. These are the issues where the executive and the legislature must work together.

“Just few days ago, there was the issue of providing funding for the purchase of security equipments. In a good environment, such an issue needed to have been discussed with lawmakers.

” Already, some senators are angry. They said they were not consulted by the executive before such a decision was taken. These are the issues we are talking about.

“I needed to be here to speak on these issues. It is not just about today. Posterity will be here to judge us that what I am saying is true. If we do not change the way we behave, we will remain like this for many years to come,” he said.

According to him, for democracy to be strengthened, the priority of everybody is to strengthen the legislature.

“If you do not defend the legislature, there is no way that our democracy will be strengthened because government is not built on individuals. It is built on institutions.

“That is why in developed countries, governments can change, but it does not affect the stability of their democracy because their institutions are strong.

“We decided to run a presidential of government. By its nature of checks and balances, there is bound to be frictions. The question now is how healthy is that friction,” he said.

In his address, Plateau governor Simon Lalong said the theme of the retreat was apt given the state of Nigeria’s democracy.

Lalong, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden said safeguarding the country’s “infant democracy” required strengthening the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.

He said these two arms of government were critical to defining the existence of democratic governance in any society.

In his remarks, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said the leadership of the eighth Senate upheld the role of the media in high esteem.

“The theme is special as efforts are made by the Senate President to tackle the issues on Executive-Legislative,” Abdullahi said.(NAN


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