National Assembly to pass 2018 budget April 24

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The Senate and the House of Representatives have taken a decision to pass the 2018 budget on April 24.

Ahead of the date, the joint Committees on Appropriations will lay the report on the budget in the two chambers on April 19.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, disclosed this in Abuja during Wednesday’s plenary.

“The consideration and passage of the budget will be on April 24. The committees will submit their report on April 19. This will be a harmonised report,” Dogara announced.

The N8.612tn budget has been held up at the National Assembly since November 7, 2017, when President Muhammadu Buhari presented the estimates to a joint session of the Senate and the House.

However, the National Assembly and the Executive have engaged each other in a blame game in the past over the delay in passing the budget.

The heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government said they had furnished the legislature with all the documents on the budget. But the lawmakers said that to pass the budget, ministers and heads of the agencies must appear before the relevant committees to defend their proposals.

They accused the MDAs of shunning invitations to appear for budget defence but giving excuses for not coming to the National Assembly.

The issue got to a point last Thursday when the leadership of the National Assembly reported the attitude of the heads of the MDAs to Buhari during a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Dogara led other leaders and some senior members of the National Assembly to the meeting.

At the meeting, Buhari was said to have been informed that only the heads of 10 out of 60 MDAs had successfully appeared before the committees to defend their budget proposals.

It was reported that Buhari, following the meeting, threatened to sack any head of the MDAs who failed to appear before the National Assembly for the budget defence by this Friday.

It will be recalled that the National Assembly had issued fresh reminders to ministers to appear this week to defend the proposals.

Findings indicated on Wednesday that between now and April 19, the committees planned to hold defence sessions with the errant MDAs’ heads and tidy up their report and lay the budget for passage on April 24.

 

Punch


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