Senate postpones passage of 2016 Budget again

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Senator Danjuma Goje led Joint Committee on Appropriations, on Wednesday failed to submit the report on the 2016 Budget thus forcing the National Assembly to once again postpone its passage.
It has now been moved from Thursday, (tomorrow) to next week.

The Joint Appropriation Committees of the National Assembly had, in a press briefing last two weeks, assured Nigerians that based on their timetable, the report will be presented at both chambers yesterday, while the consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill will take place today, Wednesday.

But during Wednesday’s plenary, there was no mention of the 2016 budget both in the Senate Order Paper and also during the plenary session.

However, the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who spoke to journalists after the plenary session, said the passage of the budget will be next week, even as he said the report of Joint Appropriation Committee will be laid before the Senate on Thursday, 17th March, 2016.

He said the National Assembly will deliberate on the report on Tuesday next week, while the Bill will be passed Wednesday, adding that the National Assembly will forward the Bill back to President Mohammadu Buhari for assent before the lawmakers vacate for Easter break.

Addressing journalists on the same issue, the Senate Spokesman, Abdulahi Sabi (APC Niger North) corroborated what the Senate leader said, by assuring that all was set for the laying of the Bill on Thursday.

According to him, “all is almost set for the laying of the 2016 budget on Thursday in the Senate chamber as we have promised Nigerians and with that, one or two processes that are required will take place and we will have our budget as promised.

“This has put to rest any suspicion of what is happening. I am here to inform you that tomorrow 17th, God sparing our lives, the 2016 budget would be laid by the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee”, Sabi added.

“We are laying the budget tomorrow, that means that every little work that needed to be done with respect to getting that budget as an appropriation law has been done. We will discuss it, by taking it clause by clause and give it the loud voice that would proclaim its passage.

“When a target is set, it is to allow you to work very hard to achieve the target. By virtue of the fact that the budget would be laid tomorrow, it shows that we had worked so hard to get to that point.

“The rest after laying the budget is merely administrative. As far as we are concerned, in line with the legislative procedure, by laying the budget tomorrow, it is as good as we have passed the budget.

“What remains is for us to go through one or two things as a procedure. We have done very well by ensuring that the budget would be laid tomorrow. There are lots of back and forth with respect to the budget.

“We are not unmindful about the date set for the passage, but we want to give Nigerians a budget that is acceptable, implementable, and that will actually drive the key policies of this government with respect to the change agenda”, he added.

He also explained that for the budget to be laid, it means that there was concurrence, and that all members of the appropriation committee were satisfied, including everybody that had a responsibility to the budget.

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