SENATE STEPS DOWN #10.509 TRILLION REVISED 2020 BUDGET
The Senate has stepped down consideration of the N10.509 trillion revised 2020 budget forwarded to it for consideration by President Muhamnadu Buhari penultimate week over the omission of N186 billion proposed for the health sector by the Budget Office.
Trouble for the revised budget started when as listed on the Order Paper, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, called on the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), to lay the report.
Senator Barau on the strength of recognition given to him for that purpose stunned the Senate by informing his colleagues that refusal of the Budget Office to capture the entire N500billion intervention fund for COVID-19 in the Appropriations Bill.
According to him, while N314billion is captured as part of the intervention fund, the balance of N186billion proposed for health sector, was not captured.
Angered by the development, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said the Senate hereby advise those responsible for the budget documents and expected letter to do the needful without further delay.
The Budget Office is reported to have refused to capture the entire N500billion intervention fund for COVID-19 in the Appropriations Bill, but rather, captured only N314billion while the balance was omitted.
The upper legislative chamber had in giving the request expeditious consideration, carried out debate on general principles of the fresh proposal along with those of the also revised 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP the very week they received them which led to passage of MTEF/FSP last week Tuesday.
But efforts to receive report of the already considered revised 2020 budget from its Committee on Appropriations for possible passage suffered set back at the plenary.