*43 lawmakers commence debate
By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives Wednesday put the Minister of Budget and National Planning on notice to urgently correct some irreconcilable differences in figures presented in the 2019 budget, even as the House did not form the required two-thirds quorum in the debate of the 2019 budget as only 43 members were present.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Lasun Yusuf, who presided over Tuesday plenary had noted that there were some discrepancies in figure and wordings of the budget.
Hon. Adamu Chika, representing Shiroro/ Rafi/Munya of Niger State and Hon. Ahmad Patigi, representing Edu/Moro/Patigi federal constituency of Kwara State pointed out that the 2019 budget is fraught with many errors in figures.
Addressing the matter, the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who noted that relevant committees should liase with the budget office to correct the errors, maintained that the debate should continue on the general principles of the budget while an error-free budget would be presented Thursday.
Meanwhile, earlier at the commencement of the debate, following the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara’s call on the Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had moved the motion for the second reading of the budget, which was seconded by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Edward Pwajok.
However, the member representing Ajeromi- Ifelodun federal constituency of Lagos State, Hon. Rita Orji, raised a point of order, noting that the House did not form the required two-thirds quorum but her protest was nullified by Dogara who contended that she was not in the position to determine the quorum of the House.
Responding to Orji’s protest, Dogara said: “You are not the keeper of the register, so you cannot determine quorum. This is politics time, some members come around to sign the register and leave. You don’t keep the register, so you cannot draw my attention to the issue of quorum.”
By this position, the debate on the budget is already under way as additional five lawmakers joined the plenary.