Tuesday, 22 March 2016

NASS Debates, Passes 2016 Budget Today

After bouts of buckpassing on alleged errors in the 2016 budget estimates, the Senate is set to pass its version of the Appropriations Bill, before proceeding on its Easter recess.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Sen Babajide Omoworare(Osun-APC) in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP yesterday, disclosed that the Red Chamber has cleaned up blights in the document and would debate and pass it today.

“To the best of my knowledge, the budget will be laid tomorrow(today), March 22nd, 2016 and debated, except something happens that we may not be in control of. we may even pass the budget tomorrow”, he said.

he warned that there are so many things at stake that that we cannot afford to delay the budget.

He dismissed the excuse that the budget’s passage was delayed because of several errors discovered in it.

According to him, “over the years, there have been errors in the budgets that we passed, but we passed them”.He however pointed out that the said errors were not the fault of the President or the presidency.

Omoworare also asked Nigerians to be patient with the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Budget, as according to him, the thorough efforts of the parliament would turn out in the best interest of the masses.Recall that the Senate deferred the passage of the Budget last week Thursday, citing reasons of errors detected in the document.

Though a member of the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Suleiman Nazif(Bauchi-APC), had through a press briefing declared that the document will be laid before the senate by the Chairman of the Committee, Sen Mohammed Goje(Gombe-APC), the upper chamber failed to do so.

Spokesmen of both Chambers of the national Assembly, Sen Abdullahi(Niger-APC) Abdulrazaq Namdas(APC-Adamawa), repeated the traditional song of errors, insisting that the budget must be cleaned up before its presentation for passage. However, section 80 of the 1999 Constitution gives a deadline of March 31st for every budget to be passed and treated. It also through some subsections, allows a window for supplementary budgets or amendments to the budget as presented or worked on by the National Assembly.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday December 22, 2015 presented estimates of the 2016 Budget before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Soon after the presentation, fireworks followed, the polity became charged with allegations of budget padding, double or multiple subheads for the same items, leading to adjustments in the estimates and a mass purge of staff at the Budget office for allegedly “messing up” the estimates to embarrass the president.

Culled: Leadership Newspaper
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