From Kemi Yesufu, Fred Itua and Ndubuisi Orji , Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara have directed sub-committees of the Appropriations committee to submit their 2017 budget reports by tomorrow or risk approving estimates from the Presidency.
Saraki handed down the order to 20 Senate sub-committees after an Executive Session and expressed disappointment that they were yet to submit their reports to the Danjuma Goje-led Appropriations Committee.
He warned that after tomorrow’s deadline, the Red Chamber would have no choice but to rely on submissions from the Executive.
“Committees should submit their reports unfailingly by Thursday, to Appropriations. This is the seventh time we are making this appeal. There are about 20 committees yet to submit their reports. After Thursday, we will have no alternative but go by the executive submission. This is the last time we are making this announcement,” he stated.
On Monday, Goje declared that the new budget may be passed before May, just as he disclosed that the lifespan of the 2016 budget will end on May 5, 2017.
Goje’s confirmation of the 2017 budget passage is contrary to the March 30 deadline given by Saraki.
Similarly, chairmen and deputies of standing committees in the House of Representatives were given marching orders to do so tomorrow.
Daily Sun gathered that the directive was handed down at yesterday’s plenary.
The speaker said any of the concerned chairmen and deputy chairmen, who fails to meet the deadline, will be “on their own.”
The House had earlier promised to pass the 2017 Appropriation Bill on March 30.
However, a fortnight ago, Chairman of the Committee on Media, Abdulrazak Namdas, told National Assembly Correspondents the date was not sacrosanct.
“The new budget software is different from what we used to have before and it is slowing down the process of the Appropriation committee,” he said then.
The House had, on two occasions, suspended plenary to enable committees conduct robust budget defence sessions with the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under their supervision, with the hope that they would also have adequate time to prepare and submit their reports.
Thereafter, the Green Chamber fixed February 24, 2017 as deadline for the various standing committees to submit their reports to the Appropriation committee.
When the committees failed to meet up, the House leadership extended the deadline to March 3, but, on that date, only about 55 percent of the 97 standing committees will able to meet the deadline.