From Kemi Yesufu & Ndubisi Orji, Abuja
Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, has said the House will complete work on 2017 budget when lawmakers resume from their Easter break.
Speaking during the weekly briefing by his committee, Namdas stated that the 2017 budget proposal would not be ready before the resumption of members from the three-week Easter break.
The Easter break is meant to commence on Tuesday April 11.
He however declined to explain if the House would pass the budget without approving the $29.6 billion borrowing plan as requested by the Federal Government.
“Hopefully, we will pass this budget when we come back from the Easter break.
“Even the Federal Government has taken advantage of the non-passage of the 2017 budget. You were in plenary today when the Minister of Budget and National Planning said if they are able to reconcile some figures, (on pension payment), they are likely to approach us for its (allocation) inclusion in the 2017 budget.
“I want to assure you that they will approach us and as the House of the people, we will certainly be on the side of the people and we will see how we can include whatever they bring.
“But in any case, that will not stop us from passing the budget. But this will, by the special grace of God, be when we return from the Easter break,” he said.
Namdas had earlier said that the March 30 deadline set for the passage of the 2017 budget by Speaker Yakubu Dogara was no longer sacrosanct.
The Green Chamber first announced a February 24 deadline for the submission of reports on budgets of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the Apprioprations Committee by the various standing committees.
But most of moves made by leadership of the National Assembly to quicken the passage of the budget did not yield fruit, with the House and the Senate twice suspending plenary to allow committees conduct robust budget defence sessions with the MDAs under their supervision, with the hope that they would have adequate time to prepare and submit their reports.