Saraki wants 2019 budget passed by April 16

Senate President, Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to submit its report by Friday.

He said the Senate will suspend plenary for the week to enable the committee present and lay the report. This, he hoped will help the lawmakers pass the budget by April 16.

He said this on Tuesday before the lawmakers adjourned.

At the start of plenary, the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, moved that the Senate adjourn plenary to honour a member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Dantani, who died in March.

Mr Dantani, who was a former Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly, represented Yauri/Shanga/Ngaski Federal Constituency of the state

He reportedly died in Abuja after a protracted illness.

The Senate leader prayed that his colleagues observe a minute of silence and adjourn according to their rules.

However, before the adjournment, Mr Saraki asked the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Sunny Obuoji, about the report of the committee.

In his response, Mr Ogbuoji asked for one more week as he said the report is not ready because some committees are yet to submit their reports.

“Our report is not yet ready because some committees are yet to submit. For now, we have less than 10 committees that have submitted their reports.

“We actually requested that they should submit the report by last week but since we don’t have it we are extending it to Friday this week latest. So we are asking for two weeks for it to be ready. If they submit on Friday, we should be able to work on it the following week,” he said.

The Senate president thereafter directed the committee to submit its report by Friday.

“Let us agree that they submit by Friday, then we suspend plenary for a week till 9th of April and during that week, latest that week…by Thursday, we should be able to lay the report and pass this budget by 16th of April because we have the Easter break coming as well. We don’t have that luxury of time,” he said.

Mr Obuoji also requested that the Senate empower the committee of appropriations “that any committee that doesn’t bring their report by Friday, we will go with the executive position and not wait for them.”

The lawmakers then adjourned plenary till April 9.

The Senate had on March 20, suspended plenary for two weeks to enable lawmakers to attend to budget matters.

The Senate had passed the budget for second reading.

After the passage, the Senate asked its committee on appropriation to work on the N8.8 trillion budget.

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