Senate sets new date for budget passage

• As committee chairman explains delay

President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan has set a new date for the passage of the 2020 Appropriation bill for the 2020 fiscal year.

The decision of the President of the Senate was predicated on the fact that the committee was not yet ready with the report as it said it was making finishing touches to the details before printing the Appropriation bill for the Senate to consider.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation had sought the leave of the Senate to allow the committee one more week to finish with its correction on the bill.

Although Lawan was not categorically on the specific date for the passage of the appropriation bill, he assured that the bill will be passed in the first week of December.

His words: “If I understand you you are working with your colleagues and members of the House of Representatives and of course Tuesday will be the 3rd of December, so submission of your report will be unfailing.

“The Senate will give you an additional week and that is that you will submit the report unfailingly. Tuesday will be the third of December 2019.

“You should be able to lay it here and then the Senate will pass it withing that week by the grace of God.

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After consideration of the Senate Committee of supply and its passage within the first week of December, both chambers of the national assembly will meet for concurrence on the bill and transmit to the executive for assent.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on appropriate had relied on order 43, of the Senate standing rules to inform the Senate on the status of the bill before the Committee.

He said: “Mr President, we have received reports from all Committees on the budget. However, we are at a stage where we are making the last-minute correction.

“What remains now is to cross-check and make sure that there is no mistake. We are crossing all the ‘Ts’ and dotting all the ‘I’, thereafter, we go to print. This is because we want to submit the report with the details.

“What remains now will take us up to Sunday next week and by Monday we should be able to have a clean report in its details for the Senate consideration.

“Then we lay it on Tuesday. I feel it is good I inform this August Senate so that you know where we are and what we are doing.”

It would be recalled that the President of the Senate had repeatedly said the Senate would pass the 2020 appropriation bill before the end of November so as to secure presidential assent and return the national budget to a more predictable budgeting cycle that would engender public confidence.

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