The Senate Friday passed for second reading, the N27.5trillion 2024 budget after two days of exhaustive debate on its general principles by Senators across party lines .
For expeditious consideration at committee levels and final passage before Christmas, the Senate mandated its committee on Appropriations , to after collation of reports from various standing committees, submit final report on the budget to the Senate on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 .
It accordingly adjourned plenary to Tuesday , December 12, 2023 , for the various standing committees to have budget defence sessions with heads of Ministeries, Parastatals and Agencies (MDAs) under their oversight purview.
During debate on the general principles of the budget by Senators , many of the Senators as earlier submitted by their colleagues on Thursday when the debate started , said assumptions and projections made in the budget, are realistic and realisable.
But some Senators like the Minority Leader , Senator Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) , Enyinnaya Abaribe ( APGA Abia South) , Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi ( PDP Osun East ) etc , picked holes in some aspect of the budget.
Specifically , Senator Abaribe in his contribution , lamented that though the budget looks beautifully packaged , but nothing about power as only 3% of the total budget is earmarked for it , yet jobs creation is said to be aimed at.
” How do we create jobs , if the issue of power failure in Nigeria is not addressed . Aside government , all the self employed people from manufacturing industries to Business Centres owners , need power to power their enterprise and remain in business .
” At committee level, we need to look around the projections and proposals made in the budget for required organisation for what Nigeria and Nigerians need or else if we leave it as it is , it is garbage in , garbage out “, he said .
Abba Moro in his own contribution , said 7% of the budget proposal earmarked for education sector is too small and far cry from 26% recommended by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation ( UNESCO ) .
He added that enveloping system of budgeting would not make the yearly budget impactful in terms of implementation .
“The Enveloping system of budgeting is cesspool of corruption . We need to seek for alternative because we cannot continue doing things the same way all the time , and expect different results ‘, he said.
Senator Fadahunsi in his own contribution , said he hoped that monies removed by President Tinubu from votes on infrastructure in the 2023 budget to the recently passed N2.17trillion supplementary budget for palliatives , would be reflected in the 2024 Budget.
He specifically mentioned Ibadan – Ife – Ilesha – Akure roads as part of the projects that suffered from such budgetary votes removal .
In his remarks after the passage of the budget for second reading , the Deputy President of the Senate , Jibrin Barau , who presided over the session , tasked the various standing committees to carry out thorough scrutiny of proposals made by the various MDAs .