Senate may pass budget 2019 in April

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The Senate yesterday resumed the consideration of the general principles of the 2019 Appropriation Bill with more knocks on the budget.

The upper chamber slated the passage of the N8.83 trillion budget estimates for next month.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after the conclusion of the debate of the general principles of the fiscal document, gave the Appropriation Committee where the budget proposal was referred to, two weeks to turn in its report for consideration and passage.

The upper chamber resolved to ignore heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), who may fail to appear before the sub-committees to defend their budget proposals.

Sub-committees were mandated to adopt the proposals as submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly at the event that any MDA failed to appear before them.

The lawmakers resolved, like it was the case in the past, not to run after heads of MDAs who may refuse to appear before the sub-committees to defend their budget proposals and estimates.

Saraki gave the Appropriation Committee April 2, 2019 to submit its report for the consideration of the Senate.

He said: “The relevant committees should swing into action and ensure that they conclude work on this budget within two weeks. The Committee on Appropriations should submit its report on the 2nd of April so that we can pass the budget.

“Let me also add that the various committees should not run or force any head of agency to appear. If they don’t appear before the given time, adopt what was submitted by the President and submit your report. That is what you should do.”

In his contribution to the debate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) said the budget christened “budget consolidation” is actually “a budget of consolidation of poverty.”

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