Fred Itua, Abuja
Contrary to its earlier promise to pass the 2020 budget tomorrow, the Senate, yesterday, announced a postponement.
Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Barau Jibrin, who briefed the Red Chamber on the status of the Appropriation Bill, yesterday, said the planned date was no longer feasible, as the Committee was yet to conclude its work.
He said consultants and other experts were working round the clock to ensure the budget is submitted next week.
Jibrin said details of the budget will be submitted to aid its easy passage into law as soon as possible.
“I want to brief the Senate on the status of the 2020 budget. As I speak, we are working round the clock to ensure that this budget is passed soon. Our consultants and other staff are working hard.
“We don’t want to turn in a poor job and we also want to ensure details of the budget are submitted too. If everything works according to plans, we will finish work next Monday and submit on Tuesday.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who presided, pleaded with the Committee to keep to the deadline and turn in the report as soon as possible to enable the Parliament pass it.
Since the presentation of the budget to a joint session of the National Assembly in October by President Muhammadu Buhari, Lawan has repeatedly promised to ensure that the Appropriation Bill is passed immediately without delay.
Last week, he told his colleagues that the budget will be submitted today and passed into law tomorrow in order to return the country to January-December circle.
Regardless of the hiccup, Lawan has said both chambers of the National Assembly may pass the 2020 budget by next week Wednesday.
The senate president who gave the hint when a delegation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) paid him a visit at the National Assembly, Abuja, said the Senate and House Committees on Appropriation sought a one-week extension to enable them conclude work on the report of the 2020 Appropriations Bill to be laid next Tuesday.
He said: “We want to pass the budget 2020 before the end of the year. Actually, today would have been the day for laying the budget, but our committees on appropriations sought for an extension by one week only.
“By Tuesday next week, we expect the budget 2020 to be laid before the two chambers of the National Assembly. It is our desire to pass the budget the following day Wednesday.
“So, we are thinking the budget would be laid on the 3rd of December, and by 4th December (on Wednesday), the Senate and the House of Representatives should be able to pass the 2020 budget.”