Finally, the long awaited 2016 budget has been passed! The budget which was submitted to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari, in December 2015, has been passed today, Wednesday, March 23 . The proposed Budget of N6,060,677,358,277 was slashed by N17,002,641,773.
The lawmakers approved a total of N6.060trn made up of N1.587trn capital expenditure of the budget and the recurrent expenditure of N2.646.3trn. The sum of N351.37bn was approved for statutory transfers, N1.475.3trn for Debt Service, and N2.2trn for Fiscal deficit.
While presenting a report, the chairman senate committee on appropriation Danjuma Goje, said the budget was filled with controversy, adding that it had too many loop-holes and if the Senate insisted on clearing up the issues, it will only result in more problems and the committee would not have been able to meet up with the deadline of submission. He said,
“This budget is full of controversy and we did not want to have more controversy or else it won’t have been presented today and the National Assembly would be blamed. The people would not understand it because people are even saying that we are playing politics”.
In the course of making contributions to the passage of the budget however, Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy Senate president, applauded the committee and also pleaded earnestly for the lapses to be addressed.
The 2016 Budget was laid on the floor of the two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday, ahead of its passage. At the Senate, the budget was laid but the chamber adjourned to today (Wednesday) after sitting for only 20 minutes. The adjournment was consequent to the death Musa Baba, a member of the House of Representatives from Nasarawa State, who died on March 17, 2016 aged 50.
As the tradition of the National Assembly demands, both chambers are to adjourn sitting in honour of a late member. Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, moved the motion for adjournment, which was seconded by Philip Aduda, deputy minority Senate leader. Three reports were presented before the Red Chamber on Tuesday. They include the annual report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, report of the conference committee on the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and report of the Committee on Appropriation of the 2016 Appropriation bill. Chairman of the Senate committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, laid the budget, which indicated that all was set for its passage.
Recall that On Tuesday, December 22, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari laid before a joint sitting of the National Assembly the 2016 appropriation bill and in January, the Senate had promised to pass the budget before the end of February, but it failed to do so. It then fixed March 17 for its passage, but it also did not fulfill this pledge. On March 16, Spokesman of the Senate, Abdullahi Sabi, had vowed that the budget would be laid the next day, but that did not happen as well. While speaking with journalists on March 17, Sabi had explained that the delay in the laying of the budget was due to some minor errors that the joint committee on appropriation was working to correct. He then promised that the budget would be passed soon.