President Muhammadu Buhari says he is very disappointed by the manner with which the National Assembly has handled the passage of budgets.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said this on Friday when he received a delegation of Eminent and Respected citizens of the Niger State led by Lt. Gen. Garba Duba (Rtd) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to him, the tardiness in the passage of budgets by the National Assembly, sometimes lasting up to seven months, delays the completion of projects across the country.
He further stated that despite the delays in passing budgets, the government has achieved a lot.
The President said, “If the National Assembly takes seven months to pass a budget, then we should be commended for the much that we have achieved and can still achieve.
“I personally feel very disappointed. I spoke with the leaders of the National Assembly on the issue that seven months is a long time to work on a budget”.
The President, however, assured the delegation that ongoing efforts to improve road and rail networks across the country will be increased as infrastructural development remains paramount for improving the livelihood of Nigerians.
He told the delegation, which included Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, military and traditional leaders, that his administration will pay more attention to the stretch of 2,150km federal roads in the state.
On security, he said, “We cannot manage our communities and societies without security. A lot of resources are being diverted to provide security instead of going into infrastructural development.”
The President also re-assured the delegation that his administration will stay focused on securing lives and property, fighting corruption and stimulating the economy for more progress.
He said the Minister of Agriculture and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria had been directed to increase monetary supports, through loans, to farmers in the next farming season, and ensure that farmers are not overwhelmed with the traditional demand for collaterals.
“Traditional institutions and families can serve as guarantors because we cannot continue with that colonial style of asking for collaterals that people don’t have,” he said.
President Buhari also commended the Chinese government for accepting to finance 85 per cent of Nigeria’s infrastructural development need.
“I thank you so much for coming. It is a good morale booster for me and the country that a State will bring a strong delegation to show appreciation for our efforts,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Lt. Gen. Duba, who is a former military governor, commended the President for the significant stride in repositioning roads, rails and airports across the country.
He said Niger State still faced challenges of security along Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin Gwari-Kaduna roads, urging the President to reinforce surveillance on the routes and also direct more attention to the construction of federal roads in the state.
The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, who is also the Chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, also commended the President for “providing exemplary leadership for the country”.