December 4, 2019

Appropriations Committee Jerks 2020 Budget by N450 billion


…As Senate Passes Budget Today

By Henry Umoru

STRONG indications emerged yesterday that the Senate Committee on Appropriations may have jerked the Capital budget as contained in a total budget estimate of N10.33 trillion for 2020 Fiscal year by N450 billion.
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Meanwhile, the report of the Committee on Appropriations on the 2020 Appropriation Bill (SB.80) was laid yesterday at Plenary by its Chairman,  Senator Barau Jibrin, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kano North.

According to a source, the Committee settled for an increase of the budget by N450 billion after series of brainstorming exercise.

The Committee, the source said had earlier pegged the increase at N500 billion, but had to reduce it after a second thought.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8,  presented a budget proposal of N10.33trn to a joint session of the  National Assembly for consideration and subsequent  approval.

The 2020 Budget which is tagged ” Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation” has a total budget estimate which  is 1.4 trillion  higher than that of 2019 which was 8.9 trillion naira.

The 2020 Budget, the President has been designed to be a budget of  Fiscal consolidation, to strengthen our macroeconomic environment;  Investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job creating sectors.

The Senate will today consider the report and may end up passing it for assent by the President today.

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan  said yesterday that the recommendations would be considered at plenary today.

Recall that the Senate Committee  on Appropriations had last week   failed to meet the date given that it must lay the report of 2020 Budget for consideration by the Senators.

It was expected last  week following the tall order last week by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan that the report must be presented today.

Consequently, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau, raised a point of Order and  pleaded that the report was not ready as the Committee members needed extra time to carry out a thorough work.

Barau who came under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders as Amended,  said that the Committee had worked assiduously to ensure that the report was ready, but unfortunately, it would need an additional week to cross the ts and the Is to  enable the Committee come up with an acceptable report.

Barau had  said, “We have been having sleepless nights, we have been able to put everything together with our team of experts. What remains now is to crosscheck and make sure there is no mistake. Crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is.

“Thereafter, we will now go to print because we want to submit all the details. What remains now, it will take us up to Sunday so by Monday we should be able to have all the clear details and then we lay on Tuesday. I just said I should inform you.”

Responding, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan gave the Committee an additional week to ensure that the report was ready unfailingly, this  week Tuesday, December 3rd, but was not possible following the death of a member of House of Representatives.

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Lawan had  said, ” I am sure you are working with the House committee on Appropriations. The Senate will give you an additional week and that is unfailingly, Tuesday should be in 3rd of December, 2019.  By the grace of God, you should be able to lay it here and the Senate should pass it within that week.”