The Senate may pass the 2019 budget by April 16 as the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, Tuesday gave the various standing and sub committees up till Friday to submit their reports to the Appropriation Committee.
Following the Senate President’s directive, the Appropriation Committee will then submit its report to the Senate from April 9 to 11.
Saraki, in an apparent move to ease workload on the senators who are chairmen and members of various committees, adjourned plenary session till April 9.
This, he said, was to allow the senate committees complete their budget defence sessions with the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Senate’s decision to adjourn plenary followed a revelation by the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sunny Ogbuoji, that less than 10 committees had so far submitted their reports.
Saraki said, “Let us agree that they (committees) will submit their reports by Friday. We will suspend plenary just for a week till 9th (of April). We should be able to reconvene here by Tuesday and lay the report by 9th, 10th and 11th of April. And pass this budget by the 16th. Because we have the Easter break coming as well. We don’t have that luxury of time.”
He enjoined the various sub committees to submit their reports to the Appropriation Committee on schedule, failing which proposals submitted by affected Ministries, Departments and Agencies will be adopted and cleared.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on December 19, 2018, submitted the budget proposal of N8.83 trillion to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, President Buhari had rejected eight of the bills passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to him for assent.
The bills include the Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill; Nigerian Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Bill; National Biotechnology Development Agency Bill; National Institute of Credit Administration Bill; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill; and the Chattered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill.