National Assembly to Transmit 2020 Budget to Buhari this Week


•Senate stands down confidence vote on Lawan

Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The N10.59 trillion 2020 budget passed last week by the National Assembly is ready for transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent, THISDAY gathered yesterday.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, told THISDAY that the budget would be sent to the executive this week for assent.
According to him, the 2020 budget will be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent any time this week.

He said: “So far, the budget has not been sent to the president for his assent. We still have a small work to do, like on Wednesday, both Houses of the Senate and the House of Representatives will pass the votes and proceedings on the budget and it is then ready for the president’s assent.”

On the argument that the 2019 budget is still legally valid till June next year, Jubrin said: “There is no controversy as the moment the budget is signed into law, it becomes law and any other thing will be subsumed into the new law.”

Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday stood down a motion seeking a vote of confidence on the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, and the leadership of the National Assembly.

The motion was sponsored by former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima.
Although the Senate adduced no official reason for dropping the motion, sources stated that most of the 36 senators whose names were published in the Order Paper as sponsors of the motion claimed they were never part of the confidence vote project.

A ranking senator whose name appeared as a co-sponsor of the motion said on condition of anonymity that he was shocked to have found his name on the list.

“I don’t know why those seeking emergency image laundering for the leadership have to resort to this. Like many others whose names you saw on the Order Paper, I don’t know about anything relating to vote of confidence on anybody. We have individually expressed our concerns to those packaging the project and I am sure that this is why they have agreed to stand it down”.

Another senator from South-south said he learnt the motion was put together to quell the mounting criticisms against discriminatory and lopsided distribution of constituency projects in the just approved 2020 budget.

He said: “The question you should ask is ‘why passing a vote of confidence on the leadership at this time? Why the rush? Has the leadership done anything wrong since it was put in place in June, 2019 that it required the vote of confidence as solidarity measure?”
As at 1.00pm when the motion was dropped, most senators had left the chamber and without providing reasons, Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, who stood in for Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, simply moved a motion that the vote of confidence motion be stood down till another legislative day. He was seconded by Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda.

The vote-of-confidence motion had 35 other senators, made up of 25 from APC and 10 PDP as co-sponsors, including Lawan’s opponent in the June 11 Senate presidency election, Senator Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje, who withdrew from the race a few days to that election.