Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate Committees on Appropriation and Finance on Thursday failed to lay the 2017 budget, despite listing it on Thursday’s Order Paper.
Listed as item one, under the presentation of reports section, the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), and his finance counterpart, Senator John Enoh (Cross River Central), were scheduled to lay the report of the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance on the Appropriation Bill 2017.
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, said the Senate committees were meeting with their counterparts in the House of Representation, while plenary was going on in both chambers, to harmonise and make some final adjustments to the budget document.
â€œI have also equally been informed that, by the grace of God, definitely, the 2017 Budget will be laid next Tuesday. Having said this, Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I will move that we stand down presentation of this report to Tuesday, the next legislative day,â€ Lawan said.
Presiding, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu noted that the budget report was billed to be laid ahead of consideration, on Thursday.
He appealed to Nigerians for understanding.
â€œLet me also emphasise for the benefit of the public that we were supposed to receive this report today. It was only this morning that we felt it was necessary for us to ensure that we are on the same page with the House of Representatives to avoid any possible conferencing. What we will like to see is the House and the Senate laying just the same document, so that once we pass it, we will now send the document to the president for assent,â€ he said.
Ekweremadu added that while the lifespan of the 2016 budget expires on Friday, the federal government can continue to spend money based on the 2016 budget estimates up to June 30, 2017.
â€œBut, we will not allow us to get into the reliance on the constitutional provision. Hopefully, by the grace of God, we will have this budget next week; we will pass it so that implementation will start in earnest. I just want to appeal for the understanding of the people of Nigeria,â€ he said.