…May pass N7.441trn budget tomorrow
After a long wait, the National Assembly, yesterday, finally laid the the 2017 Budget, even as both chambers of the legislature will today begin debate on the harmonized report of the Appropriation Bill with a slight increase of about N143 billion.
Meanwhile, following the submission of the report of the Appropriation Bill by Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations separately, the Senate said, yesterday, it would today begin clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and might pass it into law tomorrow. The Appropriation Bill was laid by Danjuma Goje, Chairman of the joint committee, seconded by Senator Sunny Ogbuoji. The report of the budget, as presented by the Joint Senate Committee on Appropriation and Finance at yesterday’s plenary, was carried out five months after its presentation by the President.
The joint committee on appropriation, however, raised the budget figure of N7.298 trillion as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to N7.441 trillion, meaning an addition of about N143 billion. According to the report, N434.4 billion is for statutory transfer; N1.84 trillion for debt servicing and N177.46 billion as sinking fund for maturing bonds.
The report also indicated that N2.99 trillion was appropriated for recurrent (non-debt), while N2.17trillion was provided as contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure. Briefing journalists after the session, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, noted that unlike last year’s budget, the 2017 budget would be passed along with the details.
He, however, explained that both chambers of the National Assembly would pass a harmonised budget after the clause-by-clause consideration. Receiving the report, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, disclosed that senators were yet to receive both hard and soft copies of the budget, but assured that lawmakers would get soft and hard copies today.
Meanwhile, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mustapha Dawaki (APC, Kano), had presented and laid the budget report before the House barely 45 minutes after the Senate laid its own, yesterday. However, in the report laid before the House, the Appropriation had increased from the initial 7.29 trillion to N7.441trillion, indicating an increase of N143 billion. Presenting the report during plenary, Dawaki said the committee worked assiduously with various committees to arrive at the document.