Barely four days after the leadership of the National Assembly met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa to discuss some burning national issues, including the 2018 Appropriation Bill, the two chambers of the federal legislature are divided over the passage of the budget.
According to a source in the Senate, there is no way the 2018 budget can be passed before June this year, contrary to the ultimatum given to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by the Red Chamber two weeks ago to submit their budget estimates latest Friday this week in order to pass the budget.
The Senate had on February 28, 2018 issued a one-week ultimatum to ministers, and the heads of departments and agencies of government, to appear before its relevant committees to defend their 2018 budget estimates.
The upper legislative chamber said the attitude of the heads of MDAs is responsible for the delay in the passage of the N8.612 trillion national budget bill into law.
The Senate warned that the failure to adhere to its ultimatum would compel it to adopt the proposal submitted for such MDAs by the executive arm of government.
The matter was again discussed at plenary when Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, sought an update on the status of the bill from the Appropriation Committee.
The vice chairman of the Committee, Senator Sunny Ogbuoji (Imo APC), said most sub-committees have been complaining about the attitudes of the MDAs that have failed to properly defend their budget estimates.
“Since January, the doors of the Appropriations Committee have been opened to receiving reports from the sub-committees, but most of the sub-committees have a huge challenge with the MDAs because majority of the MDAs are not coming forward to interface with them”, he said.
But the source, a Senator, who spoke to LEADERSHIP said the budget process is still at the committee level and is yet to be transmitted to the Appropriation Committee to collate all the submissions of the committees.
Culled from Allafrica
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