Against the promise by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, that the 2022 Appropriation Bill would be passed this week; feelers around the National Assembly suggest that it might not be passed by either chambers before this week runs out after all.
The senate President who also doubles as the Chairman of the National Assembly, while presiding over the Senate’s plenary of Tuesday, November 23, 2021, made a commitment on behalf of the National Assembly, that the budget would be passed by Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
He dropped the hint at a time the budget defence sessions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies were coming to a close.
But the Senate failed to pass the budget on Tuesday, December 14 as promised.
During the plenary on Wednesday, December 15, the Senate adjourned till Tuesday, December 21, for possibly laying of reports by the Committee of Appropriation.
The Senate would thereafter adjourn till another legislative date, when the report shall be subjected to debate and clause-by-clause considerations, before final passage.
When asked if the Senate would still pass the 2022 budget this week as promised, Senator Barau Jibrin, Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, said only the Senate President could give official statement on that.
“I don’t have the authority to tell you that, whether the budget will be passed this week or not, but we are still working on it.
“You can make your calculations. I don’t have the authority, the Senate President will be the one to tell you that”, Senator Jibrin said, Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Senate today interfaced with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Population Commission (NPC), over complaints of insufficient budget estimates.
Briefing newsmen after a close door session, Senator Jibrin said it was to look into the complaints and effect last minutes changes, where necessary.
“We had interaction with INEC and National Population Commission in respect of complaints we had from different quarters about insufficient funds that have been provided for them in the 2022 appropriation bill.
“And because of the stance of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that these two institutions need to be properly catered for in terms of their funding.
“We all know the importance of elections in this country. It is the foundation of every democracy. If you don’t get it right in your electoral process, you are in trouble as a nation.
“So, that is why we said let us not
wait until the problem manifests itself. That is why we decided to have interaction with them to see where we can do something for them, to perform optimally.
“And that of NPC, we all know population census and housing census in every country, the data that will be generated from that exercise would be able to plan Nigeria as a nation. That has not been done for the past 15 years, we appreciate the fact that the President and indeed the entire executive are determined to conduct the population census and we are all on the same page with the executive arm of government and we believe that it is something that will be beneficial to this country.
“So it was on this note that we decided as a committee that we should listen, discuss with NPC to hear if there is any problem in terms of their funding. We have known their problem and we are going to work on those problems to make sure that they are solved”, he explained further.