Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The federal government Thursday declared that it was still consulting with all stakeholders for input into the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget.
This is just as the Chairmen of Senate Committees on Appropriation and Finance, Senators Jibrin Barau and Olamilekan Adeola, said the amended 2020 budget bill is now before the National Assembly.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who spoke at the commencement of a closed-door meeting she held with the National Assembly joint Committees on Appropriation, Finance, National Planning, Petroleum (Upstream) and Local and Foreign Debts in the Senate Committee room 022, stressed that consultations with various stakeholders on the revised 2020 budget is on-going.
Ahmed, who was in the company of the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, told journalists that yesterday’s meeting was part of the ongoing consultation by the federal government for input into the proposed revision of the 2020 budget.
According to her, the outcome of the meeting will form part of the details of the revised budget that will subsequently be submitted to the National Assembly for approval.
According to her, “We are here today as part of another consultative process just to take input from the leadership of the National Assembly regarding the work that we are doing in the process of amending the MTEF 2020-2022, and the 2020 budget.
“The outcome of this meeting will form an input into the work that we are doing, which will subsequently be confirmed by the National Assembly.”
Both chambers of the National Assembly, by the meeting with the Minister yesterday, circumvented the legislative procedure for the consideration of the amended 2020 budget proposal as some of its committees commenced deliberations before the budget is laid before the two chambers.
Specifically, the National Assembly joint committees on Appropriation, Finance, National Planning, Petroleum Upstream, Foreign and Local Debts engaged the Minister of Finance, Ahmed, for about two hours yesterday evening on the modalities of the 2020 revised federal budget.
The legislative procedure is for the budget to be first laid by the executive arm at the two chambers of the National Assembly before being referred to relevant committees for further legislative inputs.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Jibrin Barau, told journalists at the end of the closed-door meeting with the minister that the amended copies of the N10.596trillion 2020 budget have been received by the leaderships of both chambers.
According to him, “The budget is with us; the House of Representatives got its on Tuesday while the Senate got its own copy on Wednesday.”