Work begins on N16.39tn budget, Senate panel gets documents today

Work begins on N16.39tn budget, Senate panel gets documents today

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, is expected to forward the 2022 Appropriation Bill to the Committee on Appropriation on Tuesday (today) during the plenary.

A member of the panel disclosed this on condition of anonymity to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday.

The senator explained that members of the panel would hold their inaugural meeting as soon as the committee received the fiscal document from the Senate President.

He said, “It is at our inaugural meeting that we would draw up the timetable for the budget defence session where the various heads of federal ministries, departments and agencies would interact with the Senate committees in charge of their oversight.

“The interface would last for about two or three weeks after which the Appropriation committee will start receiving reports from the chairmen of the various senate panels for collation.

“It is after the collation that we will write our report and submit to the Senate at plenary for deliberation and eventual approval.”

The senator said the decision to either suspend plenary or not, in order to hasten the process of working on the budget estimates, would be taken by the leadership of the Senate.

Speaking with our correspondent on the issue, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola, said the National Assembly would not delay the passage of the budget.

He said the leadership of both chambers of the national parliament would seek the consent of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to impose travel ban on heads of MDAs throughout the period of the budget defence session.

“The leadership of the National Assembly will secure the commitment of Mr President that no head of the MDAs would be allowed to travel out of Abuja throughout the period of the budget defence,” Adeola said.

Efforts to speak with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, on the issue were not successful on Monday.

Repeated calls made to his mobile line did not connect, and he had yet to reply the text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

Buhari had last week presented the N16.39trn 2022 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.

He had said his regime would finance the N6.26trn deficit contained in the fiscal document with N5.01trn he proposed to borrow from local and foreign sources, among others.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has scheduled the second reading of the 2022 Appropriation Bill to begin on Wednesday.

According to the weekly notice of the House for this week, which contains gazetted items for consideration in a particular week, Wednesday is the first allotted date for the debate on the general principles of the budget.

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