By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Presidency said Wednesday that no date has been fixed for assent to the passed 2017 Appropriation Bill, just as it said that consultations as to the signing of the document were still on going.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Maters, Senate, Senator Ita Enang while responding to when the 2017 budget would be signed into law simply said, “Further to several enquiries regarding action on the 2017 Appropriation Bill by the Executive, be informed that Assent to same is not yet scheduled as consultations and engagements are on going. Be please informed.”
It would be recalled that the Senate had on May 16th, 2017, explained that the need for authentication of the passed 2017 Appropriation Bill was the rationale behind the delay in the transmission of the document to the Executive arm of government for consideration and assent.
Addressing Journalists on the delay in transmission, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North who explained that the passage of the budget document does not automatically translate that the document would be transmitted immediately, had said that the Joint committees on Appropriations still must carry out its assignment properly by not relenting on its oars.
Senator Abdullahi had said, “After the budget is passed, the appropriation committee has to do some authentication, to avoid just any kind of document flying around. Any moment from now (Tuesday afternoon) today or tomorrow, it would be transmitted to the Presidency. Let us allow those who have been given certain responsibilities to do their job, which must include certain protocols.
“Remember that we had to adjourn and reconvene to approve the votes and proceedings to allow them continue the process. If not, they would not be able to do anything on the document. If we had waited till today (Tuesday) to approve the votes and proceedings, it means they would have to start today.”
The defence on the delay came five days after the National Assembly had on May 11th, passed a total of N7,441,175,486,758 Appropriation Bill, which represented an increase of N143 billion from what was presented last December by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had presented the N7.298trillion budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14, 2016 and had during the presentation, disclosed that his administration would pay more attention to infrastructure with roads and rail projects enjoying priority attention.