Debate on the 2018 budget took centre stage at the red chamber this week as Senators picked holes in the N8.6 trillion 2018 budget appropriation.
The lawmakers also deliberated on different aspects of the budget proposal while the chief whip, Olusola Adeyeye, called for a reduction in the allowances of politicians.
Below are major events that transpired at the Senate this week:
– The Senate opened debate on the 2018 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
– The Senate was thrown into a noisy session when Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) said the 2018 budget was “fictitious” and “dead on arrival.”
– At an event marking the 2017 World AIDS Day, chairman senate committee on primary healthcare and infectious diseases, Mao Ohuabunwa, said the senate has resolved to implement 2014 National Health Act which stipulates that one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund be set aside for healthcare provision.
– The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said some recovered stolen funds cannot be accounted for by the agencies that investigated and recovered them. “In related matters, Nigeria is finding it difficult to convince other nations to return funds looted from our treasury. This is because of the other nations’ exasperation over the management of returned assets,” he said.
– “If we are all going to complain, let’s face it,” he said. “I don’t want deficit budget. If we don’t want it and we want to slash the budget of N8 trillion to N4 trillion, some things must give way including the allowances of all politicians,” a lawmaker, Olusola Adeyeye, said on 2018 budget.
– President Muhammadu Buhari wrote the Senate to seek confirmation of 10 nominees as members of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.
– “As a nation, however, we have to tell ourselves the hard truth. Nigeria, as currently constituted, is certainly not working well. Nigerians are not only dangerously split along ethnic, religious, and sectional lines, the gap is widening on a daily basis,” Mr. Ekweremadu said on Nigeria.
– The consideration of the 2018 budget suffered a setback as the lawmakers failed to pass the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP. The Senate suspended the consideration of the report of its joint committee on Finance, Appropriations and National Planning and Economic Affairs due to the absence of John Enoh, Cross River-PDP, who was to present the report.
– The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said he believes ex-President Goodluck Jonathan let corruption thrive during his administration, but was not a power hungry individual.
– The Senate failed to confirm the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, nominee, Bello Mahmud, from Zamfara State. The issue was referred back to the Senate committee on INEC and report back in one week.