Chuks Okocha in Abuja
With the passage of the second reading of the 2020 appropriation bill by the Senate, all federal ministries, departments and agencies have been given dates to commence the defence of their budgets in the Senate.
According to documents obtained by THISDAY from the Senate Committee on Appropriation titled: “The Senate Committee on Appropriation: Approved Timetable for the Consideration of the 2020 Appropriation Bill,” there would be a public hearing on the budget by the Senate between October 23 and 24, while the submission and defence of budget reports to the committee is expected to take place from October 30 to November 5.
The consideration and harmonisation of all reports of the sub-committees by the Appropriation Committee would take place between November 6 and November 27, while the presentation of the report of the committee to the Senate and the House of Representatives is scheduled to take place on November 28.
The Senate sub-committees have the following schedules: on October 30, Capital Market, Cooperation and Integration, Downstream Petroleum Resources, Upstream Petroleum Resources, Local Content, Special Duties and National Planning are expected to defend their budgets.
Also to defend their budgets same day are: Trade and Investment, Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Drugs and Narcotics, Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Privatisation and SDGs.
The concerned ministries, departments and agencies are expected to appear before the Senate committees between 10.00 a. m. and 6.00 p. m.
On October 31, INEC, FCT, Local and Foreign Debts, Finance, Marine Transport, Land Transport, States and Local Government, Public Accounts, Culture and Tourism are expected to defend their 2020 budget proposals.
Those who are expected to appear on November 1 are: Establishment and Public Finance, Navy, Air Force, Defence, Army, Police Affairs, Sports and Youth Developments, Science and Technology and Industries.
Others expected same day are: National Identity and National Population, Interior Niger Delta, Aviation, Power and Foreign Affairs.
The Federal Character Commission and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, ICT and Cyber Crimes and Public Procurement, Women, Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare, Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Developments and Metallurgy, Information and National Orientation, Employment, Labour and Productivity, Industry Ethics, Privileges and Public Finance are billed to appear before the Senate on November 4.
On November 5, it would be the turn of the National Security and Intelligence, Agriculture and Rural Development, Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Environment, Ecology and Climate, Housing, FERMA, Works, Diaspora and NGO.
THISDAY gathered that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) is expected to flag-off the budget defence, with the hope that the Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, who is currently attending the World Bank Meeting with some senators, would have returned to Nigeria before the commencement of the budget defence.
Also listed to appear before the Finance Committee same day is the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC).
The Senate Committee on Finance would play host to the Federal Ministry of Finance on October 22.
It was further gathered that the subsidiaries in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum, including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) and the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NNRA) are expected to appear before the Senate Committee on Petroleum on October 23.
This was coming as the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, has travelled to the United States to attend the World Bank Conference in Washington. She travelled Monday night and the conference is expected to hold for a whole week.
Though it was gathered that she obtained permission from President Muhammadu Buhari before travelling, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation had last week directed that no minister or senior government official should travel not until the completion of the budget defence.
Also said to have travelled was the Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. He travelled to the United Kingdom Tuesday night with three directors of the agency.