20 Senate committees delaying 2018 budget passage – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday named 20 critical sub-committees of the Senate delaying the passage of the 2018 budget.

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Saraki, who spoke on the worrisome development at plenary, warned that the committees must not continue to hold the country to ransom by their apparent refusal to submit their budget reports.

The Senate President said he had no option than to openly name the sub-committees to ensure that the needful was done in the country’s interest.

He mandated the committees to ensure that their reports were submitted to the Senate Appropriation Committee without failure today.

This revelation is coming more than five months after the 2018 budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari had, on submission of the Appropriation Bill on November 7, 2017, sought the leave of the National Assembly to consider and approve the fiscal document by January 2018 to ensure that the budget run its full course of 12 calendar months.

The request was not kept as the National Assembly earlier blamed heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for allegedly refusing to appear before sub-committees to defend their budgetary votes.

The Senate President named Defence, Army, Air Force, Navy, Industry, FCT, States and Local Governments, Culture and Tourism, Petroleum (Downstream), Petroleum (Upstream), Niger Delta, Sustainable Development Goals and Primary Health Care & Communicable Diseases as committee that have not submitted their reports.

Others are Health, Capital Market, Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Works, Power and Cooperation and Integration committees.

Saraki said: “I am sorry to have chosen this method. I have no alternative than to list these committees so that these chairmen can know that they are holding all of us back. The listed committees have not submitted and they must submit unfailingly tomorrow (today).

“These 20 committees must ensure that their reports are submitted on Friday. We have a deadline, which we have committed to. You can’t hold us back. You must submit unfailingly by Friday.”

The two chambers of the National Assembly have scheduled April 24 to pass the 2018 budget.



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