Ahmed Lawan, senate leader, has disclosed that the national assembly earmarked funds for the construction of a second Abuja airport runway in the 2017 budget.
Lawan told state house correspondents on Friday that the project and some other projects were covered from the difference in the $42.5 oil bench mark proposed by the executive and the $44.5 passed by the legislature.
He was explaining the reason behind the passage of N7.44 trillion instead of N7.3 trillion proposed by the executive arm of government.
“We have been able to capture for example the second Abuja airport runway which we all need in this country; we have suffered from having only one,” he said.
“We have also been able to capture in the national assembly from that fund the completion of the Baro inland port. We have also been able to also include the Abeokuta airport. There are so many other things including the Warri– Aladja rail line and so on and so forth.
“These are newly introduced capital projects from the proceeds, the difference between the $44.5 (passed by the national assembly) and the $42.5 bench mark that we received from the executive.
“So, we have done fantastically well. There were no major issues like we had last year during the processing of the budget.’’
He said what the legislature passed was still within the good bounds of what the executive presented as there was no significant change in the allocations.
He said the national assembly tried to tinker in few cases but it ensured that it did not disfigure the appropriation.
“There won’t be, in my opinion and judgment, any issue whether the national assembly has tinkered with the budget because we haven’t done much tinkering with it,” he said.
“We have been able to agree mostly with what the executive has presented. But I want to assure you that this is one budget that the national assembly has worked so hard to ensure that every part of the country gets something just as proposed by the executive.”
On the increase in the appropriation for the national assembly, Lawan said it was also to take care of the capital projects in that arm of the government.
According to him, the national assembly ensured that the increase was also derived from the two dollar difference in the oil bench mark.
He said national assembly was building the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) meant for capacity building of legislators and non-legislators alike.
He however said he did not think that the allocation was something big as far assembly was concerned.
“You need to have a national assembly that is really poised, wired and competent to produce good laws,” he said.
“Imagine a national assembly where you have so many experts, many retired people from the industry, security services, even presidents, for example, coming to the national assembly.
“So we should have a national assembly that is properly and fully kitted and with adequate capacity.”