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Senate shift date of 2016 budget passage again

Senate

The Senate on Wednesday said that the Thursday deadline fixed for passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill was no longer feasible.

Spokesman of the senate, Aliyu Sabi, gave the indication in Abuja when he briefed newsmen on the latest development on Bill in the National Assembly.

He said that the budget would be laid on Thursday but would be subjected to further legislative actions which would last for days before legislative action would be concluded on it.

Sabi, who did not give a new date for the approval of the budget, explained that the briefing was to forestall any speculations on the position of the budget.

“All is almost set for the laying of the 2016 budget on Thursday at the senate as we have promised Nigerians.

“With that, one or two processes that are required will take place and we will have our budget as promised.

“This has put to rest any suspicion of what is happening. I am here to inform you that tomorrow, March 17, God sparing our lives the 2016 budget will be laid by the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee.

“We are laying the budget and that means that every little work that needed to be done with respect to getting that budget as an appropriation has been done.

“Literally, laying the budget means that beyond laying it, we will discuss it, by taking it clause by clause and giving it the loud voice that would proclaim its passage,” he said.

He said that the fact that the Senate had worked on the budget to the point of having it ready to be laid on Thursday was a clear indication of the readiness of the senate to meet its initial March 17 deadline.

Sabi commended the effort of the senate so far and said that the chamber was determined to give Nigerians a budget that would be acceptable and implementable.

“When a target is set it is to allow you to work very hard to achieve the target. By virtue of the fact that the budget would be laid tomorrow, it shows that we had worked so hard to get to that point.

“After laying the budget, the rest is merely administrative.

“As far as we are concerned, in line with the legislative procedure, laying the budget tomorrow is as good as we have passed the budget.

“What remains is for us to go through one or two things as a procedure; we have done very well by ensuring that the budget would be laid tomorrow,’’ he added.

It would be recalled President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Dec. 22, 2015.

After weeks of defence of the budget by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the parliament announced that the budget would be approved on Feb. 25, 2016.

It could not achieve this due to contentious issues of alleged padding which ensued.

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