*Eight committees yet to submit budget reports
*As lawmakers embark on Easter break
From FRED ITUA, Abuja
Contrary to its promise that it would pass the 2017 Budget on or before the end of March, the Senate, on Tuesday, again, failed to pass the Appropriation Bill. Instead, it has embarked on a two-week Easter break.
Senate President Bukola Saraki had, in January, promised that the budget, which was submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari before a joint session of the National Assembly on the 15th of December, 2016, would be passed early in order to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) commence early implementation.
However, it was gathered that about eight committees were yet to submit their reports to Sen. Danjuma Goje-led Appropriations Committee, despite an ultimatum issued by Saraki to that effect.
The source, who confirmed to Daily Sun, did not, however, give names of the committees and their chairmen yet to submit their reports to the Appropriation Committee.
The 2016 Appropriation Act was signed into law on the 6th of May, 2016 by President Buhari. The lifespan of the budget is expected to expire on the 5th of May, 2017.
As at the time the Senate will resume from its Easter break on April 25, the 2016 budget will be 10 days away from its expiration date. It is unclear whether or not the National Assembly will pass the 2017 budget before the expiration of the current document.
Meanwhile, Saraki has urged heads of the various standing committees to reach out to the Appropriation Committee chairman, Senator Goje, to resolve grey areas of their various budget reports, before it commences its final work the budget.
Saraki, who spoke, shortly before the Senate embarked on the break, said the Red Chamber was running against time to pass the 2017 budget, as earlier promised.
Saraki, had a fortnight ago, revealed that the Appropriation committee would go ahead to consider original estimates proposed by the executive should any committee fail to comply with the Upper Legislative Chamber’s deadline.
He had said: “All committees yet to complete work on the 2017 budget proposal are hereby requested to submit their reports unfailingly today to the Appropriations committee.
“These committees numbering over twenty thereabout, should endeavour to submit their reports, or the appropriations committee will be left with no option but to consider original estimates sent in by the executive.”