EXCLUSIVE: Why we passed 2024 budget for 2nd reading — Abaribe

Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi Central), who took a swipe at the National Assembly for hurriedly passing the N27.5 trillion Appropriation Bill presented before it at a joint sitting by President Bola Tinubu , last Wednesday, for second reading without having copies of the document.

Speaking with Vanguard, yesterday, in Abuja, Ningi who was also the Majority Leader, House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007, described the debate on the general principles of the Appropriation Bill without documentation as strange for the National Assembly. He said that he had never seen a situation where lawmakers debate presidential budget speech without the budget itself.

Ningi, who noted that there was neither sectoral allocation nor details of 2024 budget before the National Assembly, said: This is a strange time for the National Assembly, I have not seen the National Assembly debating a presentation of the presidential speech. Essentially, what the president brought is more like MTEP which the National Assembly passed.

“As I am speaking with you, no sectoral allocation nor detail of 2024 budget is before the National Assembly. However, there is a strong signal that the 2024 budget will not undergo the necessary process and rituals. Appropriation is the key mandate of the National Assembly, see how they are throwing it under the bus.”

Recall that the Senate had on Friday passed for second reading the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N27.5 trillion presented before the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives by President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday.

With the Appropriation Bill scaling second reading, the Senators on Friday only spent two days on debating the 43 -paragraph speech presented by President Tinubu and the four-page lead debate by the Senate Leader, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi, APC, Ekiti Central.

Senate Appropriations C’ttee meets with MDAS, stakeholders, others today

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Appropriations will today hold a one-day interactive session with Ministries, Departments, agencies of Government, stakeholders, members of the civil society organisations, among others on the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, APC, Ogun West, said the session is to set a template for the speedy consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill, christened “Budget of Renewed Hope” with the aim of maintaining the already established January- December budget cycle as well as ensuring an impactful budget in the coming year.

Senator Adeola, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Kayode Odunaro, disclosed that he held a preparatory meeting with all chairmen of Senate committees on the preparation for consideration and expeditious passage of the bill, said that the chairmen were briefed on the need to have joint deliberation with their counterparts in the House of Representatives in view of limited time available adding that it is possible to pass the bill before the end of the year through such joint sittings and deliberation with concerned MDAs. 

A renowned economist, Prof. Ayo Teriba, will deliver a paper on: “ Budget and Budgetary Process: Delivering Improved Outcomes in 2024” while the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu will provide some insights into focal points of the 2024 Appropriation Bill. 

Our democracy’ll be strengthened with citizen participation in budget process- Speaker Abbas

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has encouraged greater citizens’ participation in the budget process to deepen democratic governance and strengthen public financial management in the country.

He said this at a citizens’ town hall on the 2024 Budget and Appropriation Process organized by the House Committee on Appropriations and the Programmes Coordinating Unit of the Office of the Speaker in Abuja.

According to him, the House had taken the lead facilitating the engagement of the people in the budget process, and challenged all MDAs to do the same. 

Abbas said the House will review the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 to strengthen existing provisions to improve access to information and public consultation during all phases of the budget cycle. 

Specifically, he said the House will amend the FRA to require and define public participation explicitly.

He said the town hall provides a platform for direct engagement.


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