President Muhammadu Buhari has said that delays in passage of budgets by the National Assembly, sometimes lasting seven months, affects completion of projects across the country.
The President stated this when he received a delegation of Eminent and Respected citizens of Niger State led by retired Lt. Gen. Garba Duba at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
He called for effort to speed up the process for the benefit of the economy.
Buhari said the government’s achievements in ensuring better roads, rails, power and repositioning of the airports was in spite of the delays.
The president prayed for more understanding and commitment to infrastructure development.
He 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.’’
He added that ongoing efforts to improve road, and rail networks across the country would be increased as infrastructure development remains paramount for improving the livelihood of Nigerians.
Buhari told the delegation, which included Gov. Abubakar Bello, military and traditional leaders, that his administration would 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 is being diverted to provide security instead of going into infrastructure development.’’
The president re-assured the delegation that his administration would 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.
He also enjoined the two officials to ensure that “farmers are not overwhelmed with the traditional demand for collateral.’’
Buhari stated that traditional institutions and families could serve as guarantors as the nation “cannot continue with that colonial style of asking for collateral that people don’t have.’’
The president commended the Chinese government for accepting to finance 85 per cent of Nigeria’s infrastructure 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, Duba, who is a former military governor, commended the President for the significant stride in repositioning of roads, rails and airports across the country.
He said Niger State still faced challenges of security along Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin Gwari-Kaduna roads.
He urged the President to reinforce surveillance on the routes and to also direct more attention on 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, commended the President for providing exemplary leadership for the country. (NAN)