National Assembly Won’t Reconvene On Tuesday – Namdas

 

The National Assembly will not reconvene on Tuesday, contrary to the announcement made last week by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Abdul-Razak Namdas, confirmed to Channels Television that the House would not be reconvening because there was no firm decision to that effect.

Namdas, who was a guest on Channels Television’s political programme Politics Today on Monday, said, “We are working towards resumption but not tomorrow (Tuesday) specifically.

He said the deputy speaker, who spoke with journalists last week after a meeting of some members of the National Assembly leadership, had only said the lawmakers would likely resume on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“I want to tell you that the entire leadership, this time around, not just some (members), will meet and a definite decision will be taken,” Namdas said.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Abdul-Razak Namdas

 

He explained that it was important for the entire leadership to meet because the National Assembly is a bicameral legislature and both the House of Representatives and Senate have to work together.

“For us to do anything jointly, we need to be on the same page,” he said. “We will achieve that and I think that, very soon, either this night or so, our leaders will meet on this matter and we will make it known to Nigerians when exactly we are resuming.”

The lawmakers, who have been on recess since July 24, were meant to resume in September but they are now working to resume before then to consider the budget for the 2019 general elections and other pending issues.

The leadership of the National Assembly had planned to hold an emergency meeting to determine when they would reconvene on Tuesday last week, but they called off the meeting after armed operatives of the Department of State Services prevented workers and lawmakers from entering the NASS complex.

Namdas Blames Executive, MDAs  For Budget Delay

Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulrasaq Namdas

 

The spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, has defended the National Assembly against criticism for the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.

As far as he is concerned, the blame for the delay rests squarely with the Executive, especially Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

Namdas stated this in Abuja while appearing on Channels Television’s breakfast show ‘Sunrise’ on Saturday.

“In April, six months after the budget was brought, the executive was presenting certain provisions that we should accommodate in the 2018 budget,” he said.

“And if we had not accepted it, the story would be that we want to frustrate the (Federal) Government. We also decided to accept it in the spirit of working relationship. So we were still receiving submissions from the executive even five months after the budget was presented.”

Namda’s comments come three days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2018 Appropriation Bill into law.

Assenting to the bill on Wednesday, the President faulted the National Assembly for reducing allocations for some projects and including thousands of projects into the budget without consultation with the Executive.

But the lawmakers justified the changes made to the budget and criticised the Executive in a statement on Friday, with the Presidency firing back hours later.

The President had on November 7, 2017, submitted the 2018 budget proposal of  N8.612 trillion to the National Assembly for consideration and early passage.

However, the lawmaker increased the proposal by N508 billion, bringing the total figure to N9.12 trillion before passing it in May.

Namdas is surprised that the National Assembly is being blamed for the delay.

Pointing out that it was public knowledge that the heads of MDAs of failed to appear before the lawmakers to defend the budget estimates, he recalled that it took the intervention of President Buhari before they defended their estimates.

He added, “The budget came in November. Five months after the budget was presented, President Buhari directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to also direct Chief Executives of Ministries to appear before the committees of the National Assembly.

“When we cried out that the Chief Executives were not appearing, people thought that we were joking. Later the President saw the need. So if after five months, we have Chief Executives who have refused to appear before us, how would we have concluded with a budget as fast as people were expecting?”