…Fixes Dec. 19 for final report
The Senate on Friday passed for second reading the N27.5 trillion 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 the final report on the budget to the Senate on 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 ministries, parastatal and agencies (MDAs) under their oversight purview.
During debate, senators like the minority leader, Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South); Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South); Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun East), etc, picked holes in some aspects of the budget.
Specifically, Senator Abaribe, in his contribution, lamented that though the budget looked beautifully packaged, there was nothing about power as only 3% of the total budget was 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 from the government, all the self- employed people from manufacturing industries to business centres-owners need power to power their enterprise and remain in business.”
Abba Moro, in his own contribution, said 7% of the budget proposal earmarked for the education sector “is too small and a far cry from the 26% recommended by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
“The enveloping system of budgeting is a cesspool of corruption. We need to seek an alternative because we cannot continue doing things the same way all the time and expect different results,” he said.
Contributing, said he hoped that monies removed by President Tinubu from votes on infrastructure in the 2023 Budget to the recently passed N2.17 trillion supplementary budget for palliatives would be reflected in the 2024 Budget.
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.