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The National Assembly has said that its failure to pass the 2016 Appropriation Bill yesterday, Thursday, March 17, 2016 by the Joint Appropriation Committees of both chambers was due to the Assembly’s quest to pass a “workable and implementable” budget.
Disclosing this at a joint press conference in Abuja yesterday, the chairmen of the Media and Publicity committees of both houses, Senator Abdulahi Sabi and Hon. Abdulrazak Nadas, respectively, said that, due to the important and technical nature of the Money Bill, it was imperative to ensure that “no mistakes are made”.
Earlier, Sabi had stated that, although the National Assembly reneged on its word to pass the budget yesterday, it hoped that the Appropriation Act will eventually be passed next week.
“We promised Nigerians that the budget will be passed today (Thursday) but we couldn’t and, yesterday (Wednesday), we also confirmed it will be laid. As at today (Thursday) we were unable to lay the budget and, thus, we are hoping that it will be completed next week. He stated that the National Assembly has not failed, but needed to carry out a thorough job due to the seriousness which the Bill deserves.
“We have not failed by not passing the budget when we said we will, but, considering the seriousness with which we take it, we cannot afford to fail or make mistakes,” Sabi pointed out.
Also,Sabi explained that processes for the paperwork are quite technical and, given the volume of the document, it could not be rushed.
“After the paperwork, the next process [which includes data cleaning, integration and harmonisation] is very technical. We have to be extra careful in doing that, because that is when errors may crop up. Also, the volume of the document does not call for any rush,” he cautioned.
Sabi informed newsmen that the National Assembly was determined to pass an “implementable and workable budget which will create jobs.”
On his part, Nadas noted that the process of budget passage was much more technical than is perceived and, thus, requires somuch attention.
“The budget is the most important bill in the National Assembly and we can’t afford to make any mistake. It is the 8th Assembly’s first, so it is better to do something applaudable than make mistakes.
“The process of passing the budget goes beyond the executive laying it before the National Assembly or MDAs appearing to defend estimates. We must be meticulous in doing everything to ensure that there is no error at the end. It is better we take time to work on it and do something applaudable than to rush and end up with mistakes. Every step of the process must be detailed. Harmonisation must, also, be thorough.
Recall that the National Assembly had stated that it would lay the Appropriation Bill for consideration on Wednesday, March 16, then pass the budget on Thursday, March 18.