Senate President David Mark said yesterday that the disagreement between the legislature and the executive over the non-implementation of the 2012 budget was necessary.
The Senate president said this at an event to mark StarTimes’ second anniversary and the inauguration of StarTimes Mobile TV.
He said that the rift between the two arms of government became necessary in order to achieve the common objective of ensuring that ordinary Nigerians benefitted from the dividends of democracy.
“The rift between the executive and the National Assembly is a necessary disagreement for us to come to one simple objective.
“The final objective for the legislature and the executive is that the ordinary Nigerian in the street must see the dividends of Democracy.
“The intricacies and mechanism that result to this is not truly the problem of the ordinary Nigerian. So, when we talk of whether we have implemented the budget to 56 per cent or to 21 per cent or to 36 per cent, the man who walking on the street in Nigeria is not interested in those figures.
“He wants to see that there are infrastructures on the ground for him to utilise. He wants to be employed. He wants to have three square meals in his house. He wants security to do his business. He wants to have enough power”, he said.
Mark, who said the disagreement was exaggerated, called on both arms of government to sheathe their swords and work toward the growth of the economy.
He called on both arms of government to concentrate more on meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, rather than debating on the level of budget so far implemented.
“We should not begin to preach about percentage, I think we should worry more on how these percentages have been translated to realities on ground.
“But let me also say that I think there is an over exaggeration as to the rift between the executive and the Legislature, we are all working for Nigeria, but I must emphasise that the legislators are the elected representatives of the people and we wear the shoes, so we should know where they hurt most and I think people should listen to us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate President David Mark said that the military was better off in a democratic setting since it performed its constitutional roles without interference
Mark said this yesterday at a dinner organised by the National Defence College for Graduates of Course 20 participants and also to mark the 20th anniversary of the college
He said the military was getting back to its glorious days where the personnel did their constitutional duties and nobody would think they would do otherwise’
“So we have accepted that democracy is the order of the day and the military regime is no more in fashion and is completely outdated.
“And the Nigerian Armed Forces are so well trained, that they understand that constitutional democracy is the order of the day, so I want to thank you for that,’’ he said.
Mark said the Course 20 participants had the most challenging period, adding that the experience gained by them was not thought of some years back as there were no suicide bombers then in the country.
He said the challenge the participants had during the course was an opportunity for the participants to review most of the activities of these suicide bombers.
“Therefore, I think you had very challenging and exciting period as the Defence College by now have got a blue print because this is the highest thinking institution in the whole of West African Sub-Region.
“And anything you cannot solve militarily , then it is assumed that it is difficult for any military institution to solve and the challenge that you have must have informed your new syllabus and the new thinking that the college is working on,” he added.
Mark said by changing the name of the college from war to defence college showed that the tendency in the world now was not to fight war but to defend.
“Let me assure the commandant, staff and participants of the college that the National Assembly would do what it can in terms of legislation to make sure that they are properly equipped, to make sure they are in a position to deliver the best training.
He called for synergy between NASS and the college as their research papers would help in ways to curb the current security challenges.
Our correspondent reports that presentation of awards were made to staff who distinguished themselves.
In a related development, the 2012 budget was passed in April and 41.3% has been implemented. This was confirmed by the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The minister said this while addressing members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, yesterday.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the sum of N1.3 trillion was appropriated for capital expenditure in the 2012 budget and out of this; the ministry has released N404 billion with N324 billion cash backed.
“So far, 56 per cent of the capital budget had been utilised while 44 per cent was still outstanding.” she said.
She added that the ministry had so far released N1.6 trillion for recurrent expenditure.
The Minister said that the budget was meant to run from January to December, so it should be executed in that manner, she also claims that the media lied about the budget implementation.