PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, LAWAN 3&3B. The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan speaking with the State House press after meeting with the President at the State House. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. JAN 18TH 2022
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Senate President indicts Buhari govt over 2023 budget, says fraught with errors

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Contrary to the promise by House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila that the 2023 budget would be passed on December 22, the appropriation bill is stuck in the National Assembly.

Reason: Late submission of the bill by the Executive arm to the National Assembly and irreconcilable errors detected.

Persecondnews recalls that the bill which was scheduled to be passed on Thursday (December 22) was not listed on the Order Paper for Thursday legislative business.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said after a 15-minute close-door session in the hallowed chambers that the Executive should be blamed for submitting the N20.51 trillion budget proposal late.

He, however, said due to the hurdles and errors detected by the Appropriation Committee of both chambers and also the cleaning up of the bill, the passage of the bill will be postponed to Wednesday, December 28, 2022.

Lawan said: “Yesterday was scheduled for us to receive and consider the report of our committee on Appropriation for the 2023 Appropriation Bill. However, due to some challenges, we are not able to receive the report of the committee.

“The main reason is that the Appropriation Bill came to the National Assembly with some problems and when our Committees on Appropriation in the Senate and the House of Representatives started to reconcile the figures of what we have done and what was presented

“The problems became very obvious and they were not easy to deal with, and therefore, our committees had to start a process of cleaning up the bill first.

“That process, of course, also engaged the Executive arm because the problems came from there. It was concluded only on Wednesday, and our committee secretariats are not able to finish processing the budget for us to take today, tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday because these are periods that are for festivities, the Christmas period. Monday and Tuesday are public holidays.

“Consequently, we can only receive the report and consider it on December 28, 2022. That is the earliest, that is next week.

“So far, this 9th National Assembly has done so much to pass the previous appropriation Bills since 2019, before the end of the year to date and I’m sure that this will remain one of the cherished legacies of the 9th National Assembly.

“So, by the Grace of God, on the 28th of this month, the Senate and indeed the House of Representatives will all come back to receive and consider the budget report from our committees.

“Second, our Committee on Finance is this morning (yesterday) holding a public hearing on the Finance Bill 2022, and of course, the Finance Bill is the basis on which the Appropriation Bill 2023 is built.

“We had arranged yesterday that the Finance committee will present a report of the Finance Bill Hearing at 2 p.m., today. That of course would not be possible.

“This is the reason: We also received two communications yesterday, Supplementary Budget 2022 and of course, Ways and Means. So, our Committees on Appropriation, Finance, Water Resources, Agriculture and Works and Housing will be processing the Bills for today.

“In that respect, the Senate will adjourn immediately, so that our committees can start the action they are supposed to take and therefore, those reports will also be available to us on December 28, when we will be here.

“And by the Grace of God, December 28, 2022, will be a very heavily loaded day for us, but I’m sure we will be able to deal with all the issues that Wednesday and our colleagues, who will wish to travel back to continue the festivities with their families can still make it the following day.”

Lawan added: “Let me advise the Executive. The Bills that have come to us, the ways and means, the Supplementary Appropriation, whoever is invited to come and explain, give information or any details for the National Assembly to understand must do so because it is not our work alone.

“We want to do our work thoroughly, we want to understand whatever we are going to deal with and to base our decisions on information, and time is of the essence.”

 

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