2015 budget will be passed early – Mark

Senate president, David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu

The senate president, David Mark, on Tuesday assured Nigerians that the 2015 budget will be passed in due time, even as there are still deliberations to be made.

He said this at the plenary meeting while reading the welcome address.

“The National Assembly is committed to the passage of the 2015 Budget,” Mr. Mark said.

“Before we do that however, we must allow for a deliberate, meticulous and exhaustive debate of the estimates.

“This is an important process which affords us the opportunity to make inputs for the common good of the people.

“I must emphasize that this is a constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly,” he said.

Mr. Mark also spoke about the pending bills and agenda which have to be treated before the end of their tenure.

The agenda includes the passage of the Petroleum industry Bill, PIB, the phenomenal fall in oil prices and its impact on budgetary commitments and ensuring a free, fair, transparent and credible election.

Some more include, the resolution of insurgency in the North East, the consideration of the reports of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and the management, welfare and rehabilitation of internally displaced persons as well as the welfare of families of deceased members of the armed forces.

Some of the bills also include the National Health Bill, Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Bill, Cyber Crime Bill, Nigeria Football Federation Bill, Criminal Justice (Release from Custody) (Amendment) Bill and the Border Communities Commission Bill.

The Senate President said they hope to pass the PIB which has been before the senate for years.

“When passed, the PIB will have profound impact on the future direction of our economy and will be one of the legacies of this Assembly. Although, we have a critical and congested legislative timetable ahead, we must be thorough in our work,” Mr. Mark said.

Ayogu Eze, representing Enugu North senatorial district said the work on the PIB is almost complete and the National Assembly is determined to pass it before their exit in June.

He also said he is in touch with the committees in charge of the bill and they have given assurances that it will be completed.

The PIB which is over 250 pages seeks to inject transparency in the country’s oil sector.

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