Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The House of Representatives has announced the suspension of plenary sessions from Wednesday till October 30, 2019 in order to achieve the objective of returning the budget calender from January to December cycle.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Ben Kalu, disclosed this Tuesday while addressing journalists after President Muhammadu Buhari laid the 2020 budget proposals before the National Assembly.
He said that the leadership of the National Assembly made it a priotised duty to set up various committees and also inaugurating them, adding that the committees had started working and interacting with the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Kalu stressed that the committees were already appraising what happened with the 2018 and 2019 budget to compare with the 2020 budget.
He said: “The House, in order to achieve this objective of reversing the calender will be suspending plenaries, not suspending the House form Wednesday till October 30 to enable us go into our various committees to interact with the MDAs.”
Against this background, the House has set up a road map to achieve it aims.
Kalu said that from October 9-10, 2019, the House would have debate on the general principle of the 2020 appropriation bill, as well as the second reading and referal to the committee.
He explained that on October 10, there would be meeting with all the chairmen of all the committees to guide them on what is expected of them as regards 2020 budget.
Kalu noted that from October 10-29, 2019, the House would would be having budget hearing and engagement with MDAs by appropriation sub committees, while on October 21 – 22, 2019 , the House would organise public hearing on the 2020 appropriation bill.
He stressed that the House had scheduled the submission and defence of budget reports to appropriation committee from October 30th to November 5th 2019.
Kalu stated: “It is important to note here that the determination date for submission of budget and defence of the same budget will be on the 5th of November. After the November 5, we will not accept any submission for any defence from any MDAs.
“From Wednesday November 6-27 2019, we are going to be having the collation and harmonisation of reports by appropriation committee. It is our expectation and we are working towards that with this road map rate have set that on November 28, 2019, we will have the presentation of reports of the committee, appropriations to the Senate and the House.”
Kalu stressed that the expectation of the House expectation is to be done with the budget on November 28, 2019.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters (Reps), Umar El-Yakub, said that the expeditious and adoption of the MTEF/FSP would facilitate the return to January -December budget cycle.
El-Yakub while addressing jorunalists after the presentation of the 2020 budget by the president said that Nigerians would benefit from the budget, adding that the projects would be implemented in infrastructural areas such as education, agriculture, water, security and power.