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Senate Passes N8.91Trn 2019 Appropriation Bill

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday passed the 2019 Appropriation Bill after months of rigorous deliberations on the proposal sent by the Executive in December 2018.

The figure is higher than the proposed sum of expenditure President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the joint session of the national assembly on December 19 by N86 billion.

The passage of the bill was sequel to its presentation by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goje, at the plenary session.

The chairman of the Committee explained that part of the reasons for an increase in the budget to 8.91 trillion was to provide for N10 billion to assist victims of Zamfara State crises and  another N24.6 billion to take care of severance package for exiting lawmakers.

Commenting on the passage of the bill, the President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki said: “I want to thank our colleagues, particularly for their understanding and for us to be able to meet today’s deadline in passing the Bill and thank the committee on appropriation too.

“I hope that with this Budget passed, the Executive will also ensure the full implementation of the Budget for the benefit of Nigerians as a whole”, the lawmaker added.

Briefing journalists after the plenary session, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Mustapha Dawaki, said that the National Assembly (NASS) would transmit the approved 2019 Budget of N8.92 trillion to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

Dawaki explained that the increase in total budget from N8.83 trillion was due to the inclusion of funds for “special interventions’’ made by the National Assembly.

He said that the Christmas break and the general elections accounted for the delay in the passage of the budget.

The lawmaker said: “The President laid this budget on Dec. 18, 2018, but certain extraneous forces such as the Christmas and New Year breaks also affected quick passage of the Appropriation Bill.

“And, don’t forget that we had to go on break to fully participate in the February polls; all these were distractions that really affected the passage of the Appropriation Bill.

“Hopefully, by Thursday the budget will be transmitted to the president for his assent. We left the oil benchmark and exchange rate as sent by the executive, except for the deficit which we adjusted,’’ Dawaki said.

 

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