Former Senate Leader Ali Ndume on Wednesday said the leadership of the National Assembly under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is deliberately slowing down the consideration and passage of the 2019 budget.
Ndume also contended the delay by the Senate to commence debate of the general principles of the N8.83trillion Appropriation Bill should have started if the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators were in charge of the leadership of the upper chamber.
The Borno South Senator insisted that as far as APC senators were concerned, the 2019 budget can be considered within a week and passed.
He said it appeared the National Assembly under the leadership of PDP lawmakers was not interested in the consideration of the fiscal proposals.
Ndume said: “Though lawmakers on the platform of APC are more in number than their counterparts in PDP but since the PDP lawmakers are controlling the leadership of both chambers, the speed at which any executive bill, particularly the 2019 Appropriation Bill before us now will take, lies with them.
“Those of us in the APC at both chambers have the passion and the will to effect expeditious consideration and passage of the 2019 budget proposals but the required speed for that lies with the leadership, topmost of whom are PDP members.”
Told the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan or the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’ Allah who should move a motion to kick- start debate on general principles of the budget were not in the chamber on Tuesday and Wednesday, Ndume insisted the speed for any legislative action on the budget lies with the two presiding officers and principal officers.
Ndume commended the House of Representatives for starting debate on general principles of the budget yesterday.
The action in the House, he said, will propel legislative business in the Senate.
He noted the required expeditious consideration expected to be given the 2019 Appropriation Bill, should also be extended to the new minimum wage bill when it is presented.
Workers, Ndume said, deserve living and not just minimum wage.
He said giving Nigerian workers a living wage is the view of many of the other Senators.
Ndume added that the North East where PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar comes from, President Muhammadu Buhari will win 95percent of votes during the presidential election.
He said: “The difference is clear between the two of them as far as popularity and acceptability are concerned going by crowds attending their rallies.
“Buhari has already won the election going by the mammoth crowds being pulled by him even in North East more than Atiku .
“Besides, to us in the North East, PDP is poisonous which cannot be embraced in anyway by the teeming populace.”