2017 budget: Senate plans passage for March -Saraki

The Nigerian Senate says it will pass the 2017 budget by the second week of March, to enable implementation take off immediately the 2016 budget elapses by the end of this first quarter.

Senate floor

Senate floor

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki stated this at Wednesday’s plenary, while reviewing the outcome of a meeting between the leadership of the Senate and Chairmen of standing committees held on Tuesday to appraise the ongoing budget defence sessions with Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) of the government.

Senator Saraki also extended by two days, the period allotted for the budget defence sessions, warning that any of the MDAs that fail to appear before the Senate by Friday this week, may lose the chance to defend their proposals for the capital allocations.

He revealed that the National Assembly leadership will meet with the acting President and his team, to harmonise all discrepancies in the Appropriations Bill to facilitate smooth passage and to enable the legislators meet their March target.

Meanwhile, the Senate has suspended it’s plenary to allow the remaining MDAs to finalise their budget defence sessions with the various committees before collation can begin by the Appropriations committee from next week.

Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi who gave insight into the announcement made by the Senate President concerning the extension of the period for budget defence sessions, emphasized that the lawmakers will not tolerate any further delays to the process of the Appropriation.

“We consider the 2017 appropriation very important and critical especially for an economy under recession, and we are committed to ensuring that by the second week of March, we are done with the 2017 appropriation,” he affirmed.

“ And this also explains why, having considered the progress reports from committee chairmen in yesterday’s meeting, it was decided that we suspend plenary today so that committees can go back and complete their assignment so that by next week the appropriations committee can begin the process of collating reports from the various committees.”

“The Senate is calling on all the MDAs that are joking, we call it joking because the issue of appropriation should be the most important assignment of any MDA, and so, it is a bit worrisome that some MDAs chose when to appear and when not to appear. So, the Senate is giving them this opportunity to give back information or clarifications to the committees especially for those that have issues with their budget proposals,” he added.

“Otherwise, we have our legislative actions, and we definitely would bring the full force of our legislative actions to bear on people who are found defaulting,” Senator Sabi stated.

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